Tila, 73, is the mother of two daughters and grandmother of three grandsons and four granddaughters, living in Yati Rough village, Khwaja Do Koh, Jowzjan Province - one of the worst affected areas, in northern Afghanistan. Having no sons has made her husband's death exceptionally hard for her since now she has no one to support her and bring home food for her family.
Luckily her son in law has land, but while they used to have good harvest the drought has changed that.
I used to have a very happy life with my big family but now the drought has destroyed that life.
Her son in law used to work as a day labourer but recently has not been able to find any work. “All he can buy is wheat”, Tila explains, “which he takes to the mail for flouring before bringing it home and which we must survive on for 3 or 4 days.
If he doesn’t find the daily wage he borrows money from his friends for buying wheat but then faces additional problems trying to repay them. “He has had to sell his basic utensils from his home two or three times to pay his loans.”
ActionAid is responding to the emergency in three districts in Jowzjan province, including Khwaja Do Koh. We’ve provided vital food packages and clean water supplies to 8,600 families. bag of flour, a can of cooking oil, a bag of rice, beans, salt and sugar
“I thank the Action Aid office for its emergency support”, Tila says, "I got a bag of flour, a can of cooking oil, a bag of rice, beans, salt and sugar. Now we can manage our life for a few days and cook beans for my grandchildren."
For four months now I have been longing to see smiles on my grandchildren’s faces and now I can see them.
"I am so happy to have food now and feel comfortable", Tila says.
But much more needs to be done to support people such as Tila until the next harvest, and to ensure communities don’t find themselves in the same situation if drought returns next year. ActionAid is seeking funding to scale up our response to meet the increasing needs of those affected. We’ve also joined with other organisations to demand that donors and governments step up now to provide enough money for immediate response, as well as longer term action to help people cope better with the impacts of drought.
"I ask you to continue your support to save our lives. We do not have any more property in our house to sell; all we have left is our home and some land which no one will purchase in this situation.”