Briefing note

Running out of time - A looming drought in Afghanistan

Published 07. Jun 2021
As Afghanistan faces yet another season of uncertainty, a potential disaster looms. Amidst worsening conflict and the ongoing adverse impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, Afghanistan may also be headed for another drought.

More than three million Afghans are likely to be acutely affected by a drought this year that could be even more devastating than one three years ago. Millions of vulnerable Afghans have lost livelihoods and face food insecurity due to conflict and the damaging socio-economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

12.2 million Afghans, 32 per cent of the population, now face ‘crisis’ or ‘emergency’ levels of food insecurity – placing Afghanistan among the top three countries in the world with the highest number of people in emergency food insecurity and already exceeding levels seen during the 2018-19 drought. Afghans are taking on catastrophic levels of debt just to pay for food, rent, and healthcare even before the impacts of a drought fully hit.

This is a disaster that can be prevented but time is running out. It is critical that donors provide sufficient support to enable an effective, principled, and needs-based humanitarian response. Funding is urgently needed so that partners can plan and respond in order to prevent and mitigate displacement, respond to emergency needs, and enhance communities’ ability to cope, adapt and prepare for this year and future climate-induced shocks.