Closing the Gap: Afghanistan’s Hunger Crisis in the Spotlight


Agriculture and the communities around the Hamun wetlands rely on Helmand river, but despite massive investments in infrastructure, water is becoming scarce on both sides of the Iran-Afghanistan border. Photo by Solmaz Daryani


By Zara Gounden, Circle of Blue – April 30, 2024


Rich countries are falling short in providing essential support to combat hunger and water scarcity in low income nations, according to The Action Against Hunger 2024 Hunger Funding Gap Report.  Published annually by Action Against Hunger, the report highlights a stark reality: Approximately 65 percent of funding requests went unmet for countries facing hunger crises.

Among the striking examples in this report is Afghanistan, where over 41 percent of people face crisis-level hunger or worse, the hunger funding gap stands at 72 percent. Even more concerning is the finding that despite urgent appeals, countries received only a third of the requested funding for hunger-related programs the following year. 

After the 6.3-magnitude earthquakes in October 2023 and the unpredictable weather patterns accompanying the summer season, access to food and water has and will become increasingly challenging in Afghanistan.

Other studies have found similar dire circumstances. According to the World Food Program, 15.8 million Afghans are grappling with insufficient food consumption. Additionally, acute malnutrition surpasses emergency thresholds in 25 out of 34 provinces, painting a dire picture of the nation’s nutritional challenges.

The dual challenges of conflict and weather hazards hinder farmers from sowing their crops and often lead to the destruction of existing crops.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs stated that 25 out of 34 provinces experience either severe or catastrophic drought conditions, affecting more than 50 per cent of the population.

Initiatives spearheaded by the FAO and the UN have made strides in ameliorating the situation. However, it remains a pressing concern. A key element exacerbating this challenge has been the series of consecutive droughts Afghanistan faced this year, and in the last few years. This reversal has adversely affected the entire nation.  

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