Mongolia: Severe Winter - Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) DREF Operation n° MDRMN006

Situation Report
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A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

Dzud is a slow onset disaster which continues for several months as a result of many inter-linked factors.

Recent severe winter conditions worsened the situation with average temperature continuously being lower than normal and precipitation forming thicker layer of snow and ice over the grassland. The effect of Dzud is magnified due to the worsening socio-economic situation in the country. Mongolian animal husbandry is totally based on open grazing. In winter season, the open grazing exposes livestock and herders to harsher survival condition. Livestock lose their access to the grass buried under the snow or ice. Extreme snow limits the herders and their families’ access to town centres for medical, social, and other services. Many are also at risk of life-threatening health problems if not treated in timely manner, including depression and stress. Many of the affected families lose their sole income source and are forced to move to urban areas especially ger districts in Ulaanbaatar, capital city of Mongolia.

Summary of the current response

Overview of Host National Society

The Mongolian Red Cross (MRCS) is a member of the National Emergency Commission and is actively involved in the planning and design of the national response to the emerging crisis. MRCS is working closely with NEMA, which has been assigned by the Mongolian government to coordinate overall response efforts in the country.

The MRCS National Disaster Response Team members (NDRT) have been alerted and are on standby to provide assistance to affected communities. Mid-level branches of MRCS are collecting information from their local soum authorities and participating in their respective local emergency commission meetings. The response plan of MRCS is being drafted with support of IFRC.

Assessments will be complemented by the Trilogy Emergence Relief Application (TERA) in cooperation with G-Mobile LLC. With the TERA, the mobile network subscribers can receive and send messages related to their needs to MRCS. As MRCS and IFRC are concluding experiences from response to the Dzud last year, MRCS’s capacity to respond has shown to be strengthened through development and adopting new response mechanisms such as cash – based interventions, building stronger partnerships and establishing strong ties with service providers.

Overview of Red Cross Red Crescent Movement in country:

IFRC has an in – country program coordinator in Mongolia with the coordination and support from the Country Cluster Support Team (CCST) in Beijing. IFRC will support the MRCS in the implementation of activities through joint coordination, technical support, assessments, training and PMER.

Movement Coordination

IFRC Country Cluster Support Team (CCST) in Beijing has been working closely and maintains close communication with MRCS. Meanwhile, IFRC had supported climate change adaptation pilot project which included scientific research and small – scale pilot interventions in targeted herder communities and British Red Cross conducted Dzud assessment in July 2016. Both research and assessment have laid solid foundations for the Dzud response planning.

Overview of non-RCRC actors in country

The Mongolian Deputy Prime Minister called for an Emergency Commission meeting in November 2016 and has instructed government agencies to be prepared for extreme winter conditions in the country. Mongolian government has met with HCT members on 22 December 2016 and issued a formal call for humanitarian aid to affected families. On 23 December, the Deputy Prime Minister of Mongolia issued a letter to the international community in Mongolia calling for financial and technical assistance. NEMA as the main responder to disasters in the country holds limited stocks of hay as well as maintains reserve pastures to be used during emergencies. However, the preparedness supplies are insufficient to provide for all Dzud affected population.

Other in-country humanitarian actors include UN, Save the Children, Mercy Corps, World Vision, People-in-Need, and Caritas.