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Dry Spell Rapid Needs Assessment in Bamyan, Daykundi, Ghor and Hirat Provinces ( April 2018)

In early 2018, CRS1 became concerned about the potential impact of a prolonged dry spell on communities in which it conducts activities in the provinces of Bamyan, Daykundi, Ghor and Herat. A review of secondary data from key sources—including the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, and accumulated precipitation maps from the Food Security Dry Spell Rapid Needs Assessment and Agriculture Cluster—indicated rainfall to date was 30 percent of normal. Satellite data showed that almost all provinces were experiencing a precipitation deficit when compared to data from the same period in the previous decade. With significant deficits, the four provinces are particularly at risk: Bamyan (30% of average) Daykundi (25%), Ghor (27%) and Herat (24%).
CRS conducted a rapid needs assessment (RNA) that included 18 key informant interviews (mostly shura members and water mayors) and 156 household surveys in the following locations: - Bamyan Province • Yakawlang District • Dar-e Chast District - Daykundi Province • Sang-e Takht District - Ghor Province • Lal District • Chaghcharan District - Herat Province • Adraskan District • Karukh District In these districts, the assessment considered proximity to water source (near versus far) and slope position (north-facing versus south-facing) to capture the influence of agroecological differences on potential drought impact. The assessment focused on farmer perception of the dry spell’s progress to date and the impact it may have on water supply, principal crops (wheat in Herat, wheat and potatoes in the Central Highlands) and livestock, as well as the perceived future implications of the dry spell on the next wheat harvest (August 2018). Notably, the assessment did not distinguish between wheat varieties (spring versus winter) or type (irrigated versus rainfed); therefore, all responses align to the crop most commonly grown by those communities.
Key findings: 
CRS recommends the following mitigation interventions: 1. Provide early, simple and clear messaging of key drought-mitigating behaviors to communities. 2. Prioritize limited water resources for potato and wheat seed production to positively position farmers for future harvests and mitigate longer-term impacts of drought-failed harvests. 3. Introduce simple techniques that promote early potato growth to optimize the available irrigation water and ensure some production before irrigation systems fail. 4. Promote strategic livestock destocking and feed prioritization at mating time and during late pregnancy. This is crucial to prevent lambs being born too small and weak, and dying soon after birth. Selling non-productive animals while the market price is adequate allows for prioritization of feed and fodder for healthy, productive ewes and reduces collective demand on drought-limited fodder. 5. Where appropriate, consider complementary interventions to improve water access. Rehabilitation of unused wells, establishment of gravity-fed networks and creation of communal water reservoirs can help improve or sustain water access. 6. Continue to monitor precipitation levels, community success or failure with livestock and crops, and coping mechanisms employed. Should sufficient rain not fall, prepare for a more traditional emergency response.
Sample size: 
Assessment Report: 
Assessment Questionnaire: 
Publicly Available
Assessment Data: 
Publicly Available
Assessment Date(s): 
01 Apr 2018 to 10 Apr 2018

Level of Representation

District / Province / Locality / County
Report completed
Unit(s) of Measurement: 
Collection Method(s): 
Field Interview
Population Type(s): 
All affected population
Leading/Coordinating Organization(s): 
Catholic Relief Services
Natural Disasters