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Afghanistan ICCT Flood Contingency Plan (March - June 2020)

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Response objectives

  • Save lives in the areas of highest need through rapid provision of relief items and emergency services

  • Ensure that vulnerable people with specific needs and/or reduced coping capacities have access to assistance that meets their needs

  • Provide support for rapid recovery and resilience building, especially in locations that are repeatedly exposed to flood

Planning scenario

Afghanistan is highly prone to natural disasters, the frequency and intensity of which are exacerbated by the effects of climate change, increasing humanitarian needs. Afghanistan has an INFORM Risk Index of 7.9, the fifth highest risk country out of 191 profiled. At the same time, the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index ranks it as one of the least prepared countries against climatic shocks and the 11th most vulnerable country in the world to climate change. Flooding affected large swathes of the country every year as heavy snow melts and rivers swell, inundating communities. Heavy rainfall also contributes to flash flooding. The typical flood season runs from March to June each year. In 2019, heavy rainfall caused unseasonal flooding in atypical locations, especially in the country’s south, affecting some 294,000 people. This was the last in a string of unusual weather years for Afghanistan which included three successive years of low rainfall and minimal flooding amid a drought in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

In 2020, floods are expected to return to a more normal patternacross most of the country in terms of scale and intensity, with some geographical variations. Climate projections indicate the potential for higher temperatures, along with above average snow and rain in the east, west, central and southern parts of the country, which will in turn lead to faster melt and evaporation rates. This will increase the risk of extreme events such as flash floods and flooding of rivers.

As outlined in the HRP, an estimated 200,000 people are expected to be affected byflooding and related natural disasters (landslides, avalanches) nation-wide.This is based on an average of recent years, excluding the three years of the drought. Please see map for provincial breakdown. Already 3346 people have been affected by flooding, landslides and avalanches across the south (Uruzgan,Hilmand, Kandahar, Zabul) and in Samangan in the north.

Below average rain and high temperatures suggest the risk of flooding is lower than normal in Badahkshan, Takhar, Baghlan and Kunduz in the north-east and Balkh in the north. These areas will likely experience drier than expected conditions and out of season temperatures. While these conditions are liable to change, a continuation of the current situation will cause significant impacts on the pivotal spring cultivation season which is highly dependent on seasonal rainfall and snowmelt. In these locations, it seems likely there will need to be simultaneous response to low rainfall, while other parts of the country are grappling with floods. In these low rainfall areas, the response should focus more on general food and animal feed distribution rather than agricultural land rehabilitation. If the current conditions continue, activities in these areas will need to be focused on immediate lifesaving needs including 3 months of full food baskets and relevant animal feed. This response is not costed within this flood plan but is covered within the broader HRP.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.