"SANG-E-ATASH, Afghanistan — Fed by rain and snowmelt from mountains, this valley nestled among northwestern Afghanistan’s jagged peaks was once fertile. But the climate has changed in the last few decades, locals say, leaving the earth barren and its people struggling to survive.
Many have fled, heading to neighboring Iran or living in abject poverty in camps for the displaced within Afghanistan as repeated droughts parch the land and shrivel pastures.
“I remember from my childhood ... there was a lot of snow in the winters, in spring we had a lot of rain,” said 53-year-old Abdul Ghani, a local community leader in the village of Sang-e-Atash, in the hard-struck province of Badghis.
“But since a few years ago there has been drought, there is no snow, there is much less rain. It is not even possible to get one bowl of water from drainpipes to use,” he said, as he observed the Red Crescent Society handing out emergency winter food supplies to farmers whose crops have completely failed."