In July 2006, the government of Afghanistan and the United Nations World Food Program issued an appeal for aid as 2.5 million people in northern and western Afghanistan faced imminent food shortages. Spring rains failed, leaving crops normally watered by rainfall dry. By September 2006, Christian Aid reported that the harvest had failed completely in some of the worst-affected regions.
The effect of drought on vegetation in northern Afghanistan was evident in late April and early May 2006, when the data used to create this image were collected. The image shows a vegetation anomaly, how well plants were growing, between April 23 and May 8, 2006, compared to their average growth for the same period during 2001 through 2005. The brown that dominates the image indicates that plants were less healthy than average, while brushes of green show where plants were growing better than average. In Afghanistan, the brown areas are in the north and west, where food shortages were reported. The green areas are located near the Amu Darya River, where farmers are probably less dependant on rainfall because of access to irrigation water. Regions that were covered by clouds throughout the sixteen-day period are grey. The image was created from data collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite.
NASA image created by Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data provided by Inbal Reshef as part of the Global Agricultural Monitoring Project, a collaboration among NASA, USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), and the University of Maryland.
- Terra - MODIS