Conflict, dry spells, and weak labor opportunities will lead to deterioration in outcomes during 2018 lean season
- Declining purchasing power, disruption of normal livelihoods due to conflict, and poor rainfed staple performance will contribute to an increase in food assistance needs as compared to recent years and last year. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected among newly displaced people, households whose production and labor opportunities were adversely affected by dry spells, and undocumented returnees from Pakistan, as well as among poor households in the Central Highlands and in northeastern agro-pastoral areas, particularly during the peak lean season from January through April 2018.
- Estimates for aggregate 2017 domestic wheat harvests indicate production of 14 percent below the five-year average, due to very poor rainfed wheat production in a number of provinces after below-average cumulative precipitation and extended periods of dryness during crop development. This is likely to have an adverse impact on household food reserves for many poor households in these areas as they enter the 2017/2018 winter. Provinces that were most severely affected according to MAIL production estimates include Takhar, Balkh, Badakhshan, Samangan, Jawzjan, Baghlan, Sar-i-Pul, and Ghor.
- Widespread conflict between the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) and various anti-government insurgent groups has continued throughout 2017, after causing greater displacement in 2016 than in any year since 2002. Since January 2016, more than 950,000 people have been internally displaced by conflict. Newly displaced persons who have lost key sources of income are likely to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse during the lean season and will rely heavily on external assistance.
- La Niña conditions are expected to continue throughout the northern hemisphere fall and winter. This increases the risk for below-average precipitation over much of Central Asia during the 2017/2018 wet season, including Afghanistan. However, there remains a large spread of possible precipitation outcomes for the season. Near-surface air temperatures are expected to be above both the long-term and short-term average, which could have implications on snowpack in mid-elevation areas but also could lead to earlier spring rainfall in some areas.