"When we assessed the damaged areas, I was appalled by the scenes we witnessed," said Llewellyn Juby, ADRA Mongolia country director. "Dead animals lay scattered across the grassland where they collapsed. Now the lives of pregnant females are in the balance. The herders are desparately trying to get hay and meal to supplement their diets."
ADRA Mongolia staff met with government officials in both Ulaangom and Uliestay and arranged to distribute food, clothing, medicine and fuel to affected herders in collaboration with the soum (county) governors. According to Juby, ADRA will transport loads of the emergency supplies from an aimag (province) center to each of the soum centers. With assistance from local authorities, the items will then be distributed to the poorest and most affected herders who have lost most or all of their livestock. The relief items were purchased with donated funds from ADRA=B9s international network offices including the United States, Asia, Australia, Italy, Canada and Japan.
ADRA is also working with the local veterinary surgeon to supply veterinary medicines. "It is suggested that only the strongest animals be rescued since there are still four months until sufficient rains will encourage grass growth," adds Juby.
"More than 300,000 people in 13 aimags are affected by the immediate food shortages, and by the loss of their livelihood in the long term," reports Juby. "Cattle are the mainstay of the rural economy and the sole source of food for herders and their families. The loss of meat and dairy products means many herders are now facing hunger."
Reportedly, the snow started in October 1999, and gradually built up. In some locations, the snow is 32-40 inches (80-100 centimeters) deep, with underlying ice. The severe snow also follows one of the hottest summers in more than 50 years.
"After a summer drought that seriously weakened their resistance, the herds are now unable to reach grazing because of the snow and ice," says Juby. "The hardest time for livestock is this month and during April, as the weak animals struggle to overcome the changeable weather."
Established in 1956, ADRA is an independent, humanitarian agency with a presence in more than 120 countries worldwide. Anyone wishing to help ADRA=B9s response in Mongolia and other countries with financial contributions can call 1-800-424-ADRA or visit ADRA=B9s web page at www.adra.org.
Media Contact: Beth Michaels,
Media Relations Manager
Phone: (301) 680-6355 Fax: (301) 680-6370