At the end of March, numerous communities across Afghanistan experienced devastating flash floods following heavy rainfall. Initial assessments report that damage is greatest in the provinces of Faryab, Daykundi and Nangarhar. Whilst minor instances of flooding have been reported across the country earlier in the rainy season, this latest spate of heavy rainfall has been the most destructive of 2024 so far. 

With OCHA reporting that over 1,500 acres of agricultural land have been destroyed and 540 homes severely damaged, this latest bout of flash floods have had a severe impact on rural communities, particularly disrupting their ability to earn an income. Reliant on farm smallholdings to grow food for their families as well as crops to sell at market, men and women across these areas often have no alternative ways to make money: when agricultural land is destroyed, so is households’ ability to eat well, afford basic necessities, and build a route out of extreme poverty. 

Additionally, this 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 Daykundi province

Daykundi province is one of those hardest 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 is currently estimated by Afghanistan’s National Disaster Management Authority that at least 23 homes have 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. 

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

The continued impact of climate change across Afghanistan is making flash floods more frequent and severe. Rising temperatures and changing weather patterns are fuelling droughts, soil erosion and water scarcity, 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 surface water saved for families to irrigate their land and water their livestock.

In short, 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

What can I do to help Afghans tackle climate change?

With your help 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. Stand alongside communities in Afghanistan and donate today:

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