“If the water finishes, we will leave”: Drought is forcing hundreds of thousands of Afghans from their homes
Afghanistan is besieged by decades of conflict, but more people this year have been displaced by drought than war.
The severe drought has dried up riverbeds and water sources, withered crops, and forced 250,000 people from their homes.
Journalist Stefanie Glinski spent a week between Herat and Badghis – two of the hardest-hit provinces in western Afghanistan. As these images show, she found parched fields, abandoned homes, and families struggling to cope.
In the barren hills of Badghis, a gravel road winds through a dusty landscape, where wells and rivers have dried up completely.
As desperation rises, some families have turned to selling off their daughters, through child marriage, in order to pay off swelling debt.
Tens of thousands have fled to urban centres, living under simple tents. Available water, food, and healthcare fall far short of what’s needed. Aid groups have stepped in with limited emergency aid, but they acknowledge it hasn’t been enough to reach all the estimated 1.4 million people who require help.
The Famine Early Warning Systems Network, which tracks food security around the world, is warning of more difficulties ahead: it predicts that the combination of a stumbling economy, instability, and failing crops will increase the need for food aid into next year.
In remote Qapchiq, a village in Badghis’ Abkamari district, community leader Saskidad says his family has already lost their entire harvest.
This year’s drought, he says, is “the worst I’ve ever seen”.
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