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Poor precipitation, limited labor opportunities, and widespread conflict remain key drivers of food insecurity as lean season begins

  • Key Message Update
  • Afghanistan
  • January 2018
Poor precipitation, limited labor opportunities, and widespread conflict remain key drivers of food insecurity as lean season begins

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Conflict and civil insecurity caused the displacement of nearly 450,000 people in 2017, while disrupting typical livelihoods activities for many more. Control measures on the movement of people and goods are limiting the ability of households to maintain their normal livelihood activities. The approximately 650,000 people displaced in 2016 was the worst displacement since 2002.

    • Casual labor markets have weakened in recent years, particularly since the withdrawal of most ISAF forces in 2014/2015 and associated labor opportunities in construction, trade, services, etc. Consecutive years of below-average rainfed staple production, with particularly poor harvests in 2017, have also adversely impacted the availability of labor opportunities in major production areas. 

    • Many poor and displaced households were limited in their ability to stock grains and prepare for the ongoing winter and lean season, due in part to many areas with very poor rainfed staple production in 2017. Limited labor opportunities and extensive conflict limited households’ ability to meet winter preparation needs from other sources. The number of people facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes during the ongoing lean season is estimated to be greater than last year. Although these households are located throughout the country, areas of greatest concern include parts of Sari-Pul, Hilmand, Badakhshan, Kunduz, Daykundi, Badghis, and Nangarhar Provinces.

    • Cumulative precipitation for the ongoing October 2017 – May 2018 wet season has been well-below average through late January, with estimates indicating less than 25 percent of average precipitation in much of the country. The ongoing La Niña increases the risk for below-average precipitation during the remainder of the season. Near-surface air temperatures throughout the winter months (December – March) are expected to be above both the long and short-term averages. This is likely to have an adverse impact on snow accumulation in mid-elevation areas. Below average precipitation and above-average temperatures are likely to lead to below-average snow water equivalent in most basins.

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography. Learn more here.

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