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Editorial: Drought is a serious threat

Drought is not only a period of unusual dry weather that persists long enough to cause problem such as crop damage and water supply shortages. But drought is caused by not only lack of precipitation and high temperatures but by overuse and overpopulation. There is several definition of drought. In an effort to bring some order to measuring drought, the scientists grouped putted the definitions into four basic approaches: meteorological, hydrological, agricultural and socioeconomic. The first three categories track drought as a physical phenomenon. The last category deals with drought as a supply and demand problem, through the impacts of water shortfalls. It is because the area gets less than its normal amount of rain, over months or even years. Crops and other plants need water to grow, and animals need it to live. Droughts can become dangerous to people and other land animals; causing famine and even creating deserts. Unfortunately there is some reports that drought is affecting two out of three provinces across Afghanistan. Our country faces the threat of serious drought this year after recording the lowest snowfall and rain in years over the winter, with at least 20, of 34 provinces already suffering badly. The tragedy is surfacing, as wheat yields in Takhar have decreased by 25 percent against last year as water levels drop in irrigated agricultural areas in the north-eastern province. Based on reports, every farmer produced 3,500 kilograms of wheat from each hectare of land last year but this amount, has reduced to 2,600 kilograms. Even farmers stopped wheat cultivation. Food insecurity is anther tragedy of drought. Food insecurity and reduced access to safe water are beginning to take their tool in the 10 worst affected provinces, where 20 to 30 percent of water sources are reportedly dry. 500,000 children affected by drought in Afghanistan, UNICEF said recently, adding the lack of precipitation in late 2017 and early this year is leading to food insecurity and water scarcity that could worsen the already high malnutrition rates among children. With adequate nutritious food and safe water for drinking, as well as for hygiene and sanitation, children’s health will only worsen. There is an urgent need to fight drought, or at last transfer families from affected areas. To do so, the relevant institutions must adopt practical measures.  President Ashraf Ghani promised to take effective steps to deal with problems resulting from a drought in many provinces. Some of the worst provinces are Balkh, Ghor, Faryab, Badghis, Herat and Jawzjan. During meeting with Badghiss officials, President Ghani vowed to make efforts over the next three months at dealing the challenges posed by the drought. The National Unity Government must pay serious attention as drought is a great threat to Afghanistan.

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