Drought Relief Program for Internal Displaced Person in Afghanistan
Due to persistent drought, a steady trend in displacement to the others part of the Helmand province has been observed during the past few years. Over 85% of the population has so far been internally displaced while as much as 94% agricultural lands are hit by drought. The areas predominantly depend on a network of 7 natural springs and 2 Karez for irrigation and drinking purpose. With the exception of the Khanjak Mazar Spring, all water sources mentioned above have dried out completely. When the irrigation network was functional, the farmers cultivated wheat as a staple crop, while cumin, barley and vegetables, which constituted the bulk of agricultural production. In Baghni, farmers have traditionally little information on irrigation and water management, leading them to unnecessary wastage. Under drought conditions, securing water supplies entails hours of relentless struggle with hot weather and hilly trails. Although drinking water is scarce, the rehabilitation of the irrigation network is primordial to avoid more displacements in areas such as Roshanabad, Sheen Dara and Khanjak Mazar.
Since 2001, Islamic Relief proposed many activities for helping the returnees in Helmand Province, including installation of hand pumps, rehabilitation of the irrigation network, and settlement of displaced people in their native lands. With this new program that started in 2004, Islamic Relief aims to support the returnees in the reconstruction of the social, politic and economic networks of their villages.
In order to face this difficult returnees’ situation, Islamic Relief aims to mitigate the effects of drought and to sustain livelihoods through rehabilitation of irrigation resources, revival of drought affected agriculture land, restocking and protecting livestock, provision of potable water and increasing food security under "cash for work" concept. The long term goal of the project is the installation of all the necessary infrastructures with the result that people don’t need to displace themselves anymore.
The main activities are :
- Community organization into viable social structures ;
- Irrigation network rehabilitation ;
- Revival of drought affected agricultural land ;
- Restocking and protection of livestock ;
- Increase in access to safe drinking water.
The stakeholders of the project are mostly returnees, 10’000 people benefit of the program activities. For the execution of this project, Islamic Relief goes into financial partnership with the European Commission Humanitarian Office. The budget amounts to 96’200 USD for 2005.