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Heavy rainfall in April damages standing crops in eastern, southern, and southeastern provinces

  • Key Message Update
  • Afghanistan
  • April 2024
Heavy rainfall in April damages standing crops in eastern, southern, and southeastern provinces

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • In April, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are ongoing in western, northeastern, and northern parts of the country as households slowly recover from the drought amid generally low economic activity, but limited labor opportunities and lower-than-normal remittances from Iran are constraining household access to income for food purchases. Relatedly, the influx of around 557,300 returnees since mid-September 2023 in eastern and southern provinces is increasing competition for labor opportunities. In southern and southeastern Afghanistan, area-level Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes will likely persist throughout the scenario period, supported by better access to labor opportunities and remittances from western and gulf countries. In May, the start of the national wheat harvest will likely improve household food access and further reduce food prices. 
    • In April, above-average precipitation supported the emergence and growth of spring wheat and pasture and streamflow recovery. However, the snow-water equivalent (SWE) anomaly remains below average in the mountains of Badakhshan. The below-average SWE could impact water availability for downstream irrigated areas in the late spring and summer, mainly for second-season crops that rely on irrigation. However, southern Afghanistan recorded among the top three wettest Aprils in the last 40 years. In general, the precipitation in April has supported standing crops in northern, northeastern, and western parts of the country, but flooding has affected around 10,000 acres of agricultural land, particularly in eastern and southeastern parts of the country. The recent precipitation has also positively contributed to pasture conditions across the country, except in the central highlands, where temperatures are still typically low. However, pasture conditions will likely improve through the spring. As the precipitation season concludes, household access to food and income is expected to improve with the start of the harvest and agricultural labor opportunities. 
    • According to WFP, around 7 million people were assisted in March with emergency food, cash, and nutrition assistance, inclusive of over 313,000 returnees at the borders and another 350,000 returnees in areas of return in the last two months. Beneficiaries are receiving rations equivalent to around 50 percent of the monthly kilocalorie needs for a family of seven. WFP also plans to distribute high-energy biscuits to flash food-affected populations, followed by 100 percent food rations once affected households are confirmed. Emergency food assistance typically declines from April onward with the start of the domestic harvest. However, relief organizations are expected to continue to target the most vulnerable groups, such as returnees and natural disaster-affected populations, with HFA throughout the remainder of the projection period. 
    • In March 2024, staple food prices in Afghanistan remained stable, supported by stable supplies and availability of imports from neighboring countries and the stability of the Afghani currency against the USD. The stability of the Afghani currency is maintained by the central bank's practice of injecting and auctioning USD into the market despite a trade deficit. However, the labor market continues to be strained due to the economic slowdown, high unemployment rates, increased competition for limited labor opportunities following the forced deportation of refugees from Iran and Pakistan, and seasonal challenges such as flooding affecting agricultural wage work availability. Despite these difficulties, there has been slightly better work availability than last year, particularly in provincial capital centers. 

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Afghanistan Key Message Update April 2024: Heavy rainfall in April damages standing crops in eastern, southern, and southeastern provinces, 2024.

    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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