What Climate Change Means for Vulnerable Communities in Afghanistan

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When Climate Change Comes Calling

It’s become a well-acknowledged fact in the global conversation on climate change that those who are least to blame are the most affected.

In fact, the recent climate change talks in Copenhagen highlighted this very fact: that anthropogenic climate change is “affecting those who are least responsible for it, mainly the poorest and therefore most vulnerable regions of the world.

This risk is increasing each moment that industrialized countries delay committing to strong measures.

How Afghanistan is Affected

While there are innumerable individuals affected (and we are all, arguably, affected in one way or another), this article examines just some ways that the lives of families in Afghanistan have particularly changed.

Drought and Displacement

Little precipitation in the 2017-2018 winter season has caused unthinkable losses to rural Afghan communities. In Afghanistan, 70 percent of the population lives in rural areas.

The drought has forced families to move in the direction of makeshift camps and cities to avoid famine, since so many have been left without adequate food to feed their families.

Relief Web reports that many relief agencies are responding to the drought with scaled-up efforts to reach the hundreds of thousands of people in both urban and rural areas that are affected. The United Nations allocated $34.6 million alone last October.

But the need is still not met—and it’s growing. Islamic Relief recently approved a $500,000 ongoing response effort that will provide basic food and warm blankets to families that have had their livelihoods drastically affected. Donors can help fund the effort by giving generously.

Vulnerability to Winter

Although fleeing the drought is many families’ response to lack of food, their recourse to living in flimsy, makeshift tents outside their local environments has left them vulnerable to seriously low winter temperatures.

That means that on top of suffering from lack of food, vulnerable families are battling the frigid cold. Many lack the warm clothing, blankets, and shelter needed to survive.

Decreased Educational Opportunities

The educational needs of many individuals who are fleeing drought and battling cold, especially women and girls, may fall by the wayside. It’s no secret in the development community that if basic needs are not met, secondary needs are harder to meet as well.

Fewer educational, business, or livelihood opportunities are longer-term effects of unstable shelter and livelihood that can last for years to come.


Article written by:

Kelly is part of the Communications & External Relations team at Islamic Relief USA.