Workers excavated more than 320 km of irrigation canals in 16 days to save the harvest.
13 JUNE 2010 | DAMAN, KANDAHAR PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN
On February 15, 2010, the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) received an urgent request from the World Food Program (WFP) to help the people of Daman District repair their canals, which had recently been damaged by severe flooding. If the canals could not be repaired within three weeks, all of the year’s crops would be lost, risking serious economic instability. USAID’s Food Insecurity Response for Urban Populations (FIRUP) program stepped in to help, quickly mobilizing 6,600 laborers and 15 excavators to clear hundreds of kilometers of critical canals. The rapid response saved Daman District’s crops and the livelihoods of many of its local citizens.
With a largely rural population of 90,000 people, most of Daman’s men work in the agriculture sector. According to local farmers, if the canal were not repaired, the resulting lack of irrigation would force them to grow poppy to support their families. In response, the Kandahar PRT organized a shura with the Daman District leader and district elders, led by Kandahar Provincial Governor Tooryalai Wesa, in order to develop an emergency plan.
The emergency program repaired 320 kilometers of critical irrigation canals in just 16 days. When insurgents attempted to interfere with the project, local elders successfully resisted them. The repairs successfully spared any damage to Daman District’s crops.
In addition to saving the district’s farms, the activity provided short-term employment opportunities, while making cash available to purchase of necessary agricultural supplies such as seeds and farming equipment. The project reinvigorated the local economy to ensure a plentiful harvest this growing season, and paved the way for future rehabilitation work to ensure the sustainability of the district’s irrigation network.
USAID’s FIRUP program promotes stability through temporary employment and income generation opportunities in targeted populations to reduce the number of food-insecure and/or unemployed Afghans joining the insurgency.
Last updated: January 20, 2015