Afghanistan is suffering from extreme weather and natural disasters, UN warns

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has warned that Afghanistan is grappling with extreme weather and natural disasters with temperatures rising faster than the global average.

OCHA stated in a video on Sunday that the country requires urgent support to cope with the climate change implications which have resulted in severe droughts and acute food insecurity.

Environmental degradation is threatening agriculture and jeopardizing livelihoods across the country, particularly in remote areas.

In recent years, heavy rainfalls, flash floods, and storms have destroyed many lives and homes, caused livestock to die, crops to wither, and fields to be ruined.

According to the Taliban’s State Ministry for Disaster Management, between April and earlier this month alone, a series of natural disasters affected over 78,000 vulnerable families. Nearly 300 people died or sustained injuries, over 2,000 residential homes were destroyed or damaged, 3,279 livestock were injured, and more than 3,000 hectares of land and farmland were ravaged.

Moreover, the climate change repercussions, coupled with conflict and a worsening humanitarian crisis, have further exacerbated the number of internally displaced people and contributed to waves of migration outside the country.

As of December 2022, nearly 6.6 million people were living in internal displacement across the country, two-thirds of them because of conflict. 

These adverse changes have consequently affected the livelihoods of many rural regions and have caused food insecurity.

The World Food Programme (WFP) has provided food assistance to over 15.3 million people believed to be acutely food-insecure since the beginning of 2023, including 2.8 million people in need of emergency.

However, the agency has cut 8 million from its emergency food assistance program since April due to funding shortfalls.

Humanitarian organizations estimate that $2.26 billion is needed until December 2023 to provide essential multi-sectoral assistance to 20 million people.