Worsening Drought Means Millions of Afghans Face Hunger

The UK-based NGO Christian Aid warns that 2.5 million people across much of Afghanistan have lost their crops and are facing acute food shortages due to drought. The Afghan government reports that about 20,000 people felt compelled to leave their homes in order to survive.

In several northwestern provinces, many people lost 70-80 percent of their rain-fed crops because of insufficient rain last winter and spring. Faryab province, home to 1 million people, has been hit particularly hard by the drought as almost 90 percent of agricultural land is watered by rain, leaving an estimated 180,000 farmers without water. But drought is also acute in other parts of the country, including the southern province of Zabul which has suffered consecutive years of drought.

In Helmand province, a combination of drought and insecurity relating to fighting is making it difficult for humanitarian aid to reach those in need.

With more than half the country’s 30 million inhabitants living below the poverty line an estimated 6.5 million people are already seasonally or chronically food insecure, officials say.