Mongolia: Extreme Winter Condition (MDRMN005) Emergency appeal operations update n° 3

Situation Report
Originally published



The appeal was launched following the dzud disaster that started in early November 2015. The disaster was characterized by extreme winter conditions, very low temperatures and heavy snowfall. The disaster affected 90 per cent of the country and a total of 225,800 people, mostly herders. It caused loss of livestock, food insecurity, collapse of household economic security and severe psychological effects that have increased the level and scope of vulnerability. Among the affected population are 5,019 expectant women, 20,874 children under five years old, 6,117 people with disabilities and 4,173 households living below the national poverty line.

The slow onset disaster has disproportionally affected elderly, single parent, multi-children, disabled, poor and vulnerable herder households. Many households adopted negative coping strategies including selling their livestock. This resulted in excessive market supply and a decline in prices of livestock and raw materials. Many herders were forced into debt and bartered their livestock for food items. Thousands of vulnerable families were forced to reduce the amount and variety of their food which has led to a lack of nutrition in their diet. As a result of the dzud, many herder households lost all their livestock. As the animals were their only source of income, they were forced to migrate to urban centers. The displaced herders are mostly unemployed and forced to live in extreme poverty.

Although the winter is over the condition of the animals was very bad in the spring, causing continued death of weakened livestock and newborn animals. The end of April marked the end of freezing temperatures in most of the country, but official government figures indicated that 62 soums in 17 provinces were still suffering from the dzud, and 51 soums in 15 provinces were close to dzud conditions. By the end of April 2016, a total of 858,100 adult livestock had perished as a result of the dzud. This number had increased to 1.1 million by June 2016. The main contributing factors were insufficient grass in pastures, weakened livestock, severe dust storms and lack of hay and fodder.

According to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, by the end of June, pasture growth in more than 70 per cent of the territory was normal, below average growth was observed in 25 per cent of pastures and 5 per cent of pastures were in poor condition.

In the past six months, unconditional cash grants 4 were transferred to 3,500 households in 17 provinces (outcome 2.2.), food parcels and unconditional cash transfers 5 were distributed to 1,600 households in 17 provinces (outcome 2.1), while another 300 households received food parcels. In addition, MRCS in collaboration with Save the Children delivered psychosocial support first aid (PSS FA) to 1,725 from targeted 5,000 children. Thus, the number of targeted beneficiaries increased from 25,500 people (5,400 households) to 32,000 people. The recovery phase of the operations has now begun, focusing on livelihoods, DRR, community preparedness, rapid market assessment (outcome 3), and risk reduction measures (outcome 5).

There were some challenges to timely and effective humanitarian aid for the vulnerable target population, such as road blockage due to heavy snow, inaccessible roads, long distances to and between population centres, national government elections in June, as well as discrepancies between the name of beneficiaries on national IDs and those under which they were registered in banks and the databases of local administrations. Challenges also resulted from the lack of experience in the implementation of large scale cash-transfer programs (CTP), both at headquarter level and among Red Cross mid-level branches. However, MRCS with the help of IFRC took immediate measures to address and overcome the challenges.

Despite the above-mentioned challenges, the operation is on track and will be completed within the timeframe of the emergency appeal.