Drought threatens farmers in Afghanistan

Afghan farming families are struggling with drought as well as political turmoil.
Camera IconAfghan farming families are struggling with drought as well as political turmoil. Credit: AP

The world must maintain humanitarian aid to Afghanistan the UN's food organisation has warned, noting the country is struggling with a severe drought on top of political and social instability following the Taliban's seizure of power.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations said the situation urgently calls for an increase in humanitarian aid.

The ever-worsening drought threatens the livelihoods of more than seven million people who depend on agriculture or livestock for their livelihoods, the FAO warned in a statement released in Rome on Saturday.

Many of these people are among the 14 million of the 38 million Afghans already living in acute food insecurity, it said.

Farmers and pastoralists should not be forgotten in Afghanistan's humanitarian crisis today, FAO director general Qu Dongyu said.

"Urgent agricultural support now is key to counter the impact of the drought and a worsening situation in Afghanistan's vast rural areas in the weeks and months ahead," the FAO head stressed.

The combination of drought, pandemic economic impact and widespread displacement has already hit rural communities hard, he said.

The FAO plans to support around 250,000 vulnerable farming families (1.5 million people in total) as part of a drought response plan for the winter wheat season in Afghanistan. At present, there are only enough funds to help 110,000 families.

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