Hell Freezes Over

In drought-dried Afghanistan, more than a million people may face starvation or death in the high-plains cold. Tim McGirk reports from Herat

Do we stay or leave? It was a question Hawaneen, a hollow-cheeked Afghan with a wispy beard, had debated with his elders for many weeks, while the famine--the worst in 30 years--tightened its grip on the village. Would they stand a better chance of survival if they remained? Or should they wander elsewhere until they found help? After a three-year drought, every village well had run dry, and the goats and sheep had died. Finally Hawaneen decided it was time to go; he had fed his family the last grains of wheat he had intended to plant this spring if the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!