KABUL, Afghanistan, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- Northern and eastern Afghanistan is facing a severe drought affecting more than 12 million people, the agriculture ministry said Thursday.
The drought, described as the worst in a decade, has affected 14 of the country's 34 provinces.
The government has appealed for $142 million which would be needed to feed the affected people in the coming winter months, the BBC reported.
The World Food Program says it is already facing a shortfall.
"Lower harvests due to drought, and rising food prices world-wide, have created an emergency for Afghans in the north," Agriculture Minister Mohammed Asif Rahimi said.
Farmers in the drought-hit areas told the BBC this year's disaster is worse than in 2001. They reported many area wells are now dry and people are being forced to move off their land.
The Taliban and other insurgents, who have been making inroads in these areas, could threaten delivery of food supplies to the needy.
"I had 50 sheep, four cows and two donkeys. We have all lost our crops and I have sold 22 of my sheep since the drought began," one farmer told the Integrated Regional Information Networks.
"You can't imagine how difficult it is to sell your sheep. It's like selling your children. I feel the pain, but I had no option."
He said donkeys are critical as they help carry drinking water from far away places.