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The 2018 drought, conflict, and below-average remittances are driving atypically high lean season needs

  • Key Message Update
  • Afghanistan
  • January 2019
The 2018 drought, conflict, and below-average remittances are driving atypically high lean season needs

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Following the 2018 drought, an estimated 287,000 people were displaced mainly in northwestern and western Afghanistan with over 364,000 people displaced by conflict in 2018, per UNOCHA. Displaced households have lost their livelihoods. This coupled with weakening of casual labor markets and below-average remittances from Iran and Pakistan, IDPs are most likely to continue to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through May. They are unable to meet their basic non-food and employing crisis level coping strategies to meet their basic food needs.

    • Humanitarian food assistance is preventing more severe outcomes and as a result Badghis and areas of Badakhshan are facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3!) and parts of Ghor and Bamyan are in Stressed (IPC Phase 2!). However, areas of Daykundi and the Wakhan Corridor continue to experience Emergency (IPC Phase 4) with Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes across the rest of the country. The harvest starting in April will improve food access and incomes, however with displacement and reduced non-agricultural labor opportunities, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are anticipated. 

    • Below-average precipitation marked the start of the 2018/19 wet season across the country except in northern and eastern regions. Households delayed planting in many areas, and in some areas, rain-fed winter wheat was not planted due to soil moisture deficits carried over from the 2018 drought. However, a substantial increase in precipitation throughout most of the country in January has increased snowpack in all monitored basins. Water from snowmelt is likely to be sufficient for irrigated wheat production in all major production areas.

    • Agriculture labor opportunities are above 2017 levels, although remain below average. However, the average labor wage decreased compared to last year. Non-agriculture labor opportunities remain below-average. The reduction in non-agriculture labor and labor wages is limiting household incomes. This is increasing household dependence on credit purchase as they are reducing the quantity and frequency of meals. Agriculture labor opportunities will most likely increase with the harvest, increasing household incomes.

    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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