The Afghan Red Crescent Society and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said 10 million people in Afghanistan are facing severe hardship after extreme weather, in a "silent and underestimated crisis" that needs more international assistance.
Ten million people in Afghanistan - more than a quarter of its population - face severe acute food insecurity and need urgent help after floods and drought, according to a statement by the Afghan Red Crescent Society and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
The organizations said three years of drought have contributed to massive crop failure, economic hardship, hunger and loss of life, and forced 266,000 people from their homes. In March 2019, extreme weather worsened the already extreme hardship, when flash floods in nine provinces killed 63 people and displaced at least 281,000 to makeshift camps with inadequate services.
Climate change causing difficulties
IFRC said in the statement that climate change is increasing hardship for people in Afghanistan. Temperatures are rising, leading to changes in snowmelt, and rainfall is getting more erratic, with an increased risk of floods and droughts.
Repeated disasters have eroded people's capacity to cope. "Millions of people need both immediate, life-saving humanitarian assistance and a way out of this protracted crisis," said Afghan Red Crescent Secretary General Nilab Mobarez. "The floods are the latest disaster to bitterly test the resilience of people already stretched to breaking point by drought. It's extremely worrying because more floods are expected."
More investments needed to help population
IFRC said across many parts of the country, people lack safe water, proper sanitation and healthcare, which contribute to catastrophic levels of malnutrition. "The floods should be the wake-up call that triggers a massive investment to help people who at the moment are out of sight in an underestimated, silent crisis with limited access by humanitarian agencies or media," said Ariel Kestens, IFRC Head of Country for Afghanistan.
On March 17, 2019, IFRC launched an emergency appeal seeking seven million Swiss francs to support the Afghan Red Crescent Society to provide assistance to a maximum of 650,000 people affected by flood and drought in Afghanistan.