Drought in Afghanistan Killing Off Cattle, Sheep

From Associated Press

A four-year drought in Afghanistan has wiped out more than 80% of the cattle, sheep and goats in the north of the country, contributing significantly to the impoverishment of rural populations there, the United Nations said Sunday.

A survey of 884 villages conducted by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization in March and April found that the number of cattle in the north had been reduced 84% from 1997-1998. Spokesman Etienne Careme said the survey indicated that 80% of sheep and goats had died in that period.

FAO officials have warned that the drought poses a serious threat to the country’s meat supply. Merchants have been importing poultry, sheep and cattle from Iran and Pakistan, but those animals are not quarantined.