This report discusses the on-going drought in the North and North-West of Afghanistan, including its effects on food security and what the Afghan government and international community are doing in response. Related information is available at www.cimicweb.org.
Drought negatively affects food security, especially in developing countries, according to a report on “Mainstreaming Drought Risk Management” from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). This fact is evident in Afghanistan, which recently experienced a severe drought that left millions of Afghans without enough food to eat or proper nutrition during the winter months, according to a report from the World Food Programme (WFP). Compounding this problem, millions of Afghans living in the cold, mountainous regions are facing the worst food insecurity but may not be accessible by aid agencies. The Afghan government and international community have been working to reduce the potential impact of food shortages as the winter approaches. This report discusses the current situation in Afghanistan regarding food security and the efforts international and national actors are undertaking to address this problem. Here food security (and food insecurity) refers to a complex process which, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), combines the availability, accessibility and use of food. Rather than simply equating hunger, nutrition or starvation, food insecurity involves agricultural production, which is heavily affected by climate and the management of land and water resources. In addition, food security or insecurity may be tied to factors such as transportation and food distribution networks, which revolve around infrastructure as well as trade, border and customs policies. When food is available, the WHO notes that adequate water must be available to clean and properly prepare food. In many developing countries, food may be available but have little nutritional impact if a lack of sanitation or clean water leads to medical problems such as diarrhoea.