Drought damages Nimroz crops, forcing displacement
ZARANJ (Pajhwok): The falling level of water in Helmand River has damaged 50 percent of crops and forced displacement of families in southwestern Nimroz province, an official said on Sunday.
Livestock and agriculture officials said the decreasing water level in the river passing through Nimroz had harmed farmers in Kang and Chakhansor districts as well as Zaranj, the provincial capital.
Agriculture Director Mohammad Akbar Sharifi told Pajhwok Afghan News that farms producing 500 tonnes of wheat had been affected. The problem that surfaced last month persists to date.
He said lack of rain and a decline on Helmand River level had landed people in a serious situation. Releasing water from Kajaki dam into the river would resolve the problem of irrigation, he suggested.
Sharifi warned 28,000 hectares of farms would be harmed if the water level did not increase within one week. He said that 50 families had already been displaced from Kang district.
A resident of the district, Mohammad Nazar, said he had cultivated 50 acres of his land with wheat but 50 percent of the crop had gone parched due to lack of irrigation water.
“If the situation continues, we would be left with no option but to leave the area because our economy is entirely dependent on farming.”
The district’s administrative head, Mohammad Juma Ilmi, confirmed most people of the area were reliant on agriculture. He said 50 percent of the farms had been hit by the drought.
Ilmi added some people had sold their livestock and migrated to neighbouring Iran. If the drought continues at least 10,000 livestock would perish, he added.
A tribal elder, Nabi Jan, said well water in the area was not fit for drinking. “People consume rainwater from a pond that causes different diseases,” he said.
The estimated population of Zaranj is 300,000 and 90 percent of people do not have access to potable water.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.