(Last updated 21st May)

Throughout the spring months, numerous communities across Afghanistan have experienced devastating flash floods following heavy rainfall. This flooding has been recorded in more than 20 provinces of Afghanistan.

Whilst minor instances of flooding have been reported across the country earlier in the rainy season, this latest spate of heavy rainfall has been extremely destructive. In April, reports indicated that more than 900 houses had been destroyed or damaged, and around 35 people had sadly lost their lives. With this extreme weather continuing into May, a further 300 people have been killed, and our teams have begun distributing emergency assistance to those most affected.

With OCHA reporting in April that over 63,700 acres of agricultural land had already been destroyed and at least 470 livestock had been killed, as well as taking homes and lives, this latest bout of flash floods has severely disrupted farm-based livelihoods. Reliant on farm smallholdings to grow food to feed their families and sell at the market, a huge proportion of men and women across rural areas often have no alternative ways to make money when their agricultural land is destroyed.

This means their ability to eat well, afford basic necessities, and build a route out of extreme poverty is hugely compromised and additionally, leaves many families unable to afford to fix damage done to their homes by floods, leaving them no choice but to sleep in unsafe and exposed conditions.

Monitoring impacts in Ghor province

From the 15th-21st May, flooding worsened across Ghor provinces, devastating whole communities. Whilst assessments by our team are ongoing, initial reports show that at least 57 people have lost their lives, 500 houses have been damaged or completely destroyed, and 50km of road has been washed away. Furthermore, agricultural livelihoods have been decimated, with 400 hectares of agricultural land destroyed, and 2000 livestock killed. UNICEF estimates that at least 2500 families have been affected. 

One of the country’s most food insecure provinces, communities in Ghor were already facing multiple challenges before this disaster struck. Having worked in this remote province for 24 years, our strong ties to some of the hardest hit communities enable us to respond rapidly with emergency relief for those affected by the recent flooding, delivering flexible cash assistance to ensure families can meet their most pressing needs. Please donate what you can today:

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Assessing impacts across Ghor province

Monitoring impacts in Badakhshan province

Recent flooding has affected numerous communities in Badakhshan, one of the Afghanistan's most isolated provinces. Earlier this month, flash flooding severely affected residents in the districts of Shuhada, Ragh, and Yaftel-e-payan, causing significant destruction to people's properties including homes, orchards, cultivated lands, irrigation canals, shops, and vehicles. Unfortunately, one person was reported as having lost their life in the disaster, with six others becoming injured.

On April 28th, there was another severe flooding incident that affected seven more districts: Tishkan, Darayim, Argo, Shah-e-Buzrug, Nusay, and Warduj. The incident caused extensive damage, including the destruction of 69 houses, 52 shops, 4000 trees, six kilometres of road and 80 hectares of irrigated land. This instance of flooding sadly also resulted in loss of life, with five people killed and 11 others injured.

Our teams throughout the province are continually monitoring the impacts of this distressing disaster on the vulnerable communities of Badakhshan province. 

Monitoring impacts in Daykundi province

Daykundi province was one of the provinces first hit by recent floods, a province in which we have held an office since 2018. Currently delivering six projects across the province, our local teams have been assessing the flooding’s impact on Daykundi’s most vulnerable communities, with project staff analysing how best we can support families to navigate this latest environmental challenge.

It was estimated by Afghanistan’s National Disaster Management Authority on the 1st April that at least 23 homes had been completely destroyed in the province, with 56 severely damaged across seven districts.

Photos from Khedir, one of Afghanaid’s target communities

Across Daykundi, following emergency needs assessments in 25 communities, our teams have found that over 3330 fruit and non-fruit trees have been washed away, 86 jeribs (around 43 acres) of agricultural land have been destroyed, and 610 livestock animals have been killed. With local crops, fruit and livestock all instrumental in feeding families and providing farmers with a source of income, food security in Daykundi province and the wider region will undoubtedly become further strained this year, and cycles of poverty will continue to deepen. 

To make matters worse, flood damage compounds the isolation of these remote, underserved areas, destroying crucial transport links to larger towns and cities. Daykundi’s infrastructure has been significantly weakened, with at least five bridges having collapsed, and 450 roads being wholly or partly washed away. Already one of the country’s most isolated provinces, without these links, families with high levels of need are unable to access vital services like hospitals, markets and schools. As a result of this inaccessibility, it is also very likely that the full extent of the floods’ damage in Daykundi is not yet fully understood. 

Our teams are also conducting emergency assessments in the other areas where we work, in order to provide the most effective support to communities at risk. 

No longer ‘natural’ disasters: how the climate crisis is fuelling humanitarian emergencies

The continued impacts of climate change across Afghanistan are making flash floods more frequent and severe. Rising temperatures and changing weather patterns are fuelling droughts, soil erosion and water scarcity, meaning when rain does fall, it cannot be absorbed by the dry, eroded soil below. This causes water to flow rapidly and cause acute damage to homes, land and people in its path, and also means that there is little water saved for future use, so that families to irrigate their land and water their livestock.

In simple terms, in Afghanistan, the climate crisis is being felt most acutely as a water crisis. Afghan households require sustained support to revitalising soil and landscaping hillsides to reduce the destructive impact of floods and recharge groundwater, as well as build irrigation canals, reservoirs, wells and dams to better manage and access water.

These interventions enable rural families to better protect their homes, lands and livelihoods from climate-induced disasters, whilst also decreasing poverty, food insecurity, and water scarcity. For over a decade, Afghanaid has been bringing climate adaptation initiatives to Afghanistan, providing communities on the frontlines of the crisis with the training and tools needed to build their resilience and thrive.

In the remote village of Anok, Daykundi province, women have been taking part in one of Afghanaid’s latest cash for work programmes - weaving gabion baskets to build check dams. Small barriers constructed of a series of gabion baskets, gabion check dams slow down water flowing from the hillsides, helping to prevent flash floods, and improving soil moisture. 

Whilst providing families with much needed avenues to earn an income, this inclusive and simple project ensured members of the community were integral stewards in building their own resilience to climate disasters, safeguarding their homes and livelihoods, and also supporting them to diversify and grow their skillsets. One participant, Gulsha, explained how her life had improved as a result: "Now that I have learnt the gabion weaving skill, I am happy to be working and receiving cash to spend it on family expenses. Drought has become a big problem here and this work will help counter that problem as vegetation will increase and floods will decrease."

Read more about the transformative climate work we do with rural communities

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As well as providing urgent relief to families in crisis, at Afghanaid we invest in long term solutions to help families adapt to the climate crisis. With your loyal support and led by local people, we can ensure more communities have the knowledge, infrastructure and resilience to tackle the complex challenges they face as the climate crisis intensifies, preventing flooding, reducing the destructive impacts of drought, and ensuring that inclusive, green solutions stand the test of time.

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