Dual Disaster Puts Millions of Afghans at Risk

Afghanistan is suffering on two fronts—drought is devastating large swathes of the country and recent floods have caused damage in two provinces.

  • An estimated 2.5 million Afghans face an imminent food crisis because of inadequate rainfall during April and May, swelling the ranks of roughly 6.5 million people considered to be at seasonal or chronic risk of food insecurity because of the harsh conditions.
  • Meanwhile, recent floods have affected more than 5,500 families in Ghazni and Paktya provinces in Afghanistan’s east.

Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Margareta Wahlström warned that drought can lead to increased malnutrition and spiraling impoverishment. Households often have no choice but to consume their harvests much sooner than usual; eat seeds before the next year’s planting season; sell animals and household goods; and migrate to cities.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is giving $11 million in emergency drought relief, with the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the World Health Organization (WHO) providing food, water and health services to those in need. And in flood-affected areas, UNICEF and WFP are distributing medical kits, food and other items such as blankets and cooking utensils.

UN News Service, “As Drought and Floods Strike Different Afghan Regions, UN Agencies Rush to Help,” 15 August 2006.
Link: www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=19517&Cr=afghan&Cr1=.