One million lives at stake as Afghanistan is hit by drought

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Apr 24, 2018, 01.35 PM(IST)

An Afghan man carries thistle on his back on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan. Photograph:( Reuters )

Parts of Afghanistan provinces are facing a serious threat of severe drought that could affect the lives of almost one million people living in the area said a recent statement released by United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund.

The statement reads, "the extremely dry winter has affected 22 provinces across Afghanistan and now threatens to negatively impact the lives of one million people, with an additional two million who could feel its effects over the coming months".

According to the statement 23-30 per cent of water sources have gone dry. Food insecurity and reduced access to safe water are beginning to take their toll in the 10 worst affected provinces, where 20 to 30 percent of water sources are reportedly dry. The impact on children could be devastating, as these areas have pre-existing high rates of malnutrition. Without adequate nutritious food and safe water for drinking, as well as for hygiene and sanitation, children’s health will only worsen. 

Afghanistan reportedly received lowest snowfall and rain in years this winter.

According to reports, at least 20 to 34 provinces are already suffering severely and the situation is expected to worsen even further.

Hashamnt Khan Bahaduri spokesperson for the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority in Kabul was quoted by Reuters saying that "this year drought has reached a level that we will have to announce an emergency in several parts of the country."

He further informed that the country might need to import or receive donations to overcome food shortages.

Afghanistan has been experiencing frequent seasons in recent decades. 

Inadequate rains and snowfall during 2008 to 2010 in parts of Afghanistan caused significant failure of the rain-fed crops in the six provinces: Herat, Jawzjan, Balkh, Badghis, Faryab and Sar-e-Pul. The situation affected the most vulnerable populations and their access to food and water, reducing communities' health and nutrition status. 

However, following the heavy snow in 2012 long drought ended.

(With inputs from Reuters)