• 17 December 2016: An information bulletin is issued highlighting the upcoming dzud and its potential impacts. The bulletin informs that more likely, it is the northern part of country that will be most affected.
It also indicates that shortage of food is already impacting more than 16,000 families that had to move to new pastures.
• 20 December 2016: The Government of Mongolia officially sent letters to the MRCS and other humanitarian actors in the country to request international assistance for the most vulnerable herder households who are experiencing extreme winter conditions.
• 4 January 2017: 117,349 Swiss francs (CHF) allocated from the IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF).
• December-January 2017: IFRC disaster risk management coordinator from Beijing country cluster support team (CCST) and the operations coordinator from the IFRC regional office for Asia Pacific are deployed to assist MRCS team with assessments and operational support.
• 10 February 2017: IFRC issues Emergency Appeal (MDRMN006) for CHF 655,512 to assist 11,264 people.
• 13 April 2017: Operation update no. 1 issued covering the period 2 January to 28 February 2017.
• 31 August 2017: Operation update no. 2 issued covering the period 1 March to 30 June 2017.
• 10 October 2017: The IFRC issues revised Emergency Appeal to assist 11,264 people with an increase in activities and increased budget (from CHF 655,512 to CHF 856,387).
• 24 November 2017: National Agency of Meteorology and the Environmental Monitoring issues Dzud risk map for winter 2017-2018, which indicates that 12 provinces are at very high risk of dzud.
Description of the disaster
Mongolia experienced very low temperatures and heavy snowfall in the winter of 2016-2017. Dzud affected 17 out of 21 provinces and some 157,000 people (approximately 37,000 herder households) who rely on livestock husbandry for their livelihood was affected. The temperatures in some areas fell to between -40 and -50 degrees Celsius in early February. The affected herder households are sparsely populated in the eastern and northern parts of the country and rely mainly on livestock-related income for living. Among the affected populations are approximately 2,500 pregnant women, 26,000 children and 8,000 elderly people who are living below the national poverty line. The extremely harsh winter that continued after the drought in summer has depleted the herders’ reserves of hay and fodder. Continuous snowfall throughout January, February and March exacerbated the adverse situation, putting at risk millions of livestock, which are the only source of food, transport and income.
Throughout winter 2017, around 70 percent of the country was covered with snow, in some mountainous regions snow has piled up to as thick as 50 centimeters. Shortage of pasture and water led to large scale livestock loss in some areas. Approximately 16,000 households (10 per cent of total number of HH with livestock) with some seven million livestock, moved to nearby soums 1 and provinces seeking for better pasture. This mobilization, which is called otor2 locally, resulted in several breakouts of livestock infectious diseases.
As of third quarter of 2017, 622,230 livestock had perished. The main contributing factors were insufficient grass in pastures, weakened livestock, lack of hay and fodder and livestock infectious diseases.
According to Information and research institute of meteorology, hydrology and environment, Mongolia is at the risk of facing “black dzud3 ” during 2017/18 winter, as the summer of 2017 had been unusually hot and dry. The lack of precipitation withered pastureland throughout the country and many herder households were unable to prepare adequate amount of hay and about 60 percent of the livestock was not able to gain enough fat.
As of 20 December 2017, the dzud risk map for winter 2017-2018, published by National Agency of Meteorology and the Environmental Monitoring shows that about 40 percent of the country is at the extreme risk of dzud and about 20 percent of the country is at high risk of dzud.
In order to reflect the evolving needs of affected population, to address the recommendation from the final evaluation of previous emergency appeal operation and with the additional funding from donors, MRCS and IFRC revised the operational plan and extended the timeframe.
In addition to relief activities, the operation is now supporting Dzud preparedness and National society capacity building by taking account of close consultation with the affected population and relevant authorities.
Complementing the dzud preparedness activities, MRCS with support from British Red Cross is implementing Forecast-based Financing (FbF) intervention, developed by IFRC Climate Centre, to reduce the risk of Dzud. 2000 households in 40 soums of 12 provinces, who are at extreme risk of dzud are being assisted with unconditional cash grants and animal care kits. 2000 herders received unconditional cash grant in their bank accounts in December and they will receive animal care kit in January.