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September 19, 2018
The Kabul Times

Effective steps needed to tackle severe drought in Afghanistan

Severe drought has affected at least 20 provinces particularly Balkh, Badghis, Herat and Ghor and it is reported that nearly 2 million people are expected to become food insecure and need urgent humanitarian assistance in drought-hit provinces.
Previously, a UN office had warned that this year’s drought has affected two-third or large parts of Afghanistan. In its report released in May, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (UNOCHA) said that “this drought will have a particularly detrimental effect on already chronically food insecure farming households.”
UNOCHA estimates that out of approximately 2.2 million people affected by the drought, at least 1.4 million will become acutely food insecure. They will require emergency assistance over the coming months and into the next lean season, the report said.
In areas hit severely by drought in the country’s north and west, water wells have run dry, crops are lost, livestock is dying and farmers are leaving their farms and villages. Unfortunately, displaced people affected by the severe drought are prevented from reaching markets and aid due to insecurities and ongoing war in parts of the country.
Although the UN seeks an extra $117 million to address drought-related emergency needs, most of displaced people affected by severe drought have not received humanitarian assistance so far. It is necessary that humanitarian assistance allocated for displaced families affected by drought should be organized and accelerated as they have lost their crops and livestock.
In his visit to Badghis on Thursday, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani promised that the government would take effective steps towards dealing with problems resulting from a drought and addressing drought-related emergency needs.
In a meeting with Badghis provincial council members, the country’s President vowed to make further efforts towards addressing challenges posed by severe drought in the country over the next three months.
He also stressed on transparency in distribution of humanitarian assistance to the people affected by drought in the country.
Although National Unity Government (NUG) has stepped up efforts to address the issue of drought in the country, in some parts of the country which is severely hit by the drought, farmers have lost their hope for the harvest as they have nothing to feed their cattle in order to save them.
To address the issue of drought and help displaced people affected by drought return their home villages, effective steps need to be taken by both the central government and NGOs. For example, the government should take necessary measures to further conserve and improve the availability of water and construct water dams as various long rivers are flowing in Afghanistan. Moreover, the government should also take measures for transparently distribution of humanitarian assistance to those affected by drought in various parts of the country.
The drought comes as violence and insecurities have increased recently in large parts of the country, with the Taliban, Daesh and other insurgent groups intensifying attacks and creating problems to the people of Afghanistan.
Noor Ahmad Saleem

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