When the rain stopped falling earlier in the year, many people like Ab. Karim from the province of Badghis knew that trouble was coming. In the north western province of Afghanistan, the reduced snowfall and scarce rains meant only one thing – Drought.
The drought which struck the province earlier this year resulted in a shortage of grazing land and drinking water, affecting almost 95% of the farmers who rely on agriculture and livestock as their main source of income and food. Children living within these communities are also affected, having to miss school so that they could find small jobs to help make ends meet and purchase basic household items.
Along with 9 other family members. Karim is also one of the many people who live in an internally displaced persons settlement in the provincial center of Badghis.
“This drought has been terrible for our livelihood this year, and is making life very difficult,” explains Karim. “I left my home after the conflict and settled in the internally displaced settlement with my family. The situation seems to be getting worse for all of us.”
Many families have also been forced to sell the items in their house to buy food. “I’ve had to sell my livestock, my motorcycle, and carpets just to buy food for my family,” adds Karim.
The shortage of water and fodder resulted in the deaths of livestock. In some areas, it is reported that at least 150,000 heads of livestock have perished due to the drought.
Many people resorted to moving to neighbouring provinces in search of better income opportunities. With the prediction of hot weather and sparse rainfall in the coming months, there is a growing fear that the situation will worsen and prolong the food and water shortage.
Early assessments by local authorities indicate that more than 50,000 people could be affected by the loss of crops and livestock and will be forced to move in the near future.