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GDO Analytical Report: Drought in Iran, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan - May 2021

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Executive summary

  • A large region across Central and Western Asia is under drought conditions, including most of Iran, parts of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and Turkmenistan, with impacts of different severity depending on the area and local magnitude of the event. In general, safe and sufficient water supply, agriculture and electrical power are at stake, while food security and households’ income are also at risk in the most vulnerable areas (e.g. Afghanistan, south-west Pakistan).

  • The drought originates primarily from below average precipitation during the winter 2020/2021 and the following spring, further fuelled by higher-than-average temperatures during the same period. Ground waters are already strained by frequent droughts and unsustainable abstraction, thus offering little buffering against prolonged dry meteorological conditions.

  • According to the long-term records, the whole area receives no meaningful precipitation between June and October, with very limited variability around this figure. Therefore, accumulated deficit up until May 2021 will persist to the end of the year, entailing a possible worsening and propagation of drought impacts everywhere in the region, during the incoming months.