Afghanistan: Drought - Operation Update Report n° 2 Emergency Appeal n° MDRAF007


Summary of operation update:

The ARCS has been implementing the operation according to the current strategy outlined in Operations Update No.1, with the aim to reach drought-affected households in 13 provinces. On 3 August 2021, the IFRC launched a revised Emergency Appeal with the targeted population increased to 280,000 individuals and the funding requirement to 15 million Swiss francs to support the ARCS in delivering assistance and support to drought-affected households in 15 months. Given recent developments in Afghanistan, drought-affected households have also been impacted by multiple shocks, including displacement. Recognizing the compounding effects of these factors, the ARCS and IFRC have agreed to revise the operation strategy. As such, further revision of the Emergency Appeal – and its related Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) – is underway. The upcoming revision will increase the funding requirements, expand the operation’s scope to address multiple shocks (drought and displacement) and the impending winter, increase the number of households to be provided with assistance, and extend the timeframe of the operation. The updated operation strategy will be outlined in the upcoming revised Emergency Appeal, which will be issued before mid-September

Description of the disaster

Afghanistan is facing a drought, which was officially declared on 22 June 2021. Dry conditions started in October 2020 and affected snow accumulation during winter. Snow accumulation is critical for water access because spring and summer snowmelt of glaciers provides communities with cool, fresh water that is used for agriculture among other needs. This is the second drought to impact Afghanistan in four years. The rain-fed and irrigated agriculture/livestock are impacted the most. This year, according to the government, the country’s wheat crop will be reduced by nearly two million tons and more than three million livestock1 are in danger of death due to lack of fodder and water.

The compounding impacts of drought and conflict which escalated in July and first half of August have exacerbated the hard living conditions in a country that is also grappling with COVID-19 and poverty. Though COVID-19 cases have reduced in recent weeks, socio-economic impacts of the pandemic will continue to be felt for months, with the risk of new waves still existing. The combination of multiple shocks, including displacement, has resulted in a complex humanitarian crisis that has not only increased vulnerabilities but also severely impacted the living conditions and livelihoods in most part of the country. The impacted populations are relying on humanitarian assistance including food assistance, lifesaving health care, and means to restore and protect their livelihoods. As of early August, around 11 million people are experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity due to the combination of conflict, COVID-19, high food prices, and rampant unemployment2. These numbers are likely to increase due to developments of recent weeks though data is yet to be confirmed as the situation is evolving.