KABUL (Pajhwok): Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Abdullah Abdullah talking to the Geneva summit has said most parts of Afghanistan were hit by drought, asking the international community to cooperate in dealing with the menace.
Abdullah expressed the issue in the Geneva summit billed as a platform for the Afghan government to renew its commitment to reform and discuss aid contributions in its bid to achieve stability and security.
A statement from the CEO office received by Pajhwok Afghan News said that Abdullah expressed concern and said more than 3.6 million Afghans were seriously hit by poverty as result of severe drought in 22 out of 34 provinces of Afghanistan.
“Prior to this year’s harvest season, hundreds of thousands of people – many of them womenand children - migrated to provinces such as Herat, Badghis and Ghor, stretching the capacity of urban centers and creating social, logistical and financial stress on them,” CEO was quoted as saying.
The drought has also resulted in a 25 percent increase in the number of children under five suffering from acute malnutrition, totaling over 600,000 minors at higher risk of death in the affected provinces, he said.
As winter approaches, the biggest concern for Afghanistan is the people who live in the areas mostly affected by the drought. These are also the areas with the highest level of under nutrition and food insecurity, Abdullah said.
“In the short term, we need to make sure that we have a sufficiently large emergency response so that we can lessen their food insecurity and the higher risk of mortality that comes with it,” he added.
Abdullah said that both the Afghan government and the international community have shown their commitment to tackling the drought since the beginning of the problem.
The Afghan government has shown its commitment by mobilizing 60,000 tons of wheat from its strategic grain reserve to feed 1.4 million people in need, he said.
It has shown its leadership by chairing the emergency drought response meetings over the past many months.
Abdullah said that the support of the international community was crucial in dealing with the drought – both in terms of coordination and financial support.
We must think about the long term, because worldwide trends show that in the long term, droughts are not going to cease,” he added.
Agriculture and related sectors are under threat from extreme weather events, as demonstrated by the current drought that leads to land degradation and desertification, causing lower production, food insecurity, economic degradation, displacement and loss of lives, he said.
“As we look to Afghanistan’s future, I am confident that our humanitarian and development partners will work with us, not only to implement programming that focuses on increased social, environmental and financial resiliency, but also to build sustainability through institutions and capacity-building” he concluded.