Mongolia Severe Winter: Humanitarian Report (as of 15 Feb 2017)



Mongolia is currently experiencing harsh winter conditions which are severely impacting herders. The impacts of an unusually dry summer, late autumn rains and early, followed by heavy snowfall in September to November 2016 have combined to create an unfolding humanitarian crisis. The Government of Mongolia is reporting dzud or near dzud conditions in 127 soums of 17 provinces, and two districts of Ulaanbaatar City. It is estimated that 165,282 people (43,579 herder households) are at risk. One quarter are children, pregnant women, people with special needs and elderly people.

The extreme winter weather, following on from a drought during the summer of 2016, has depleted herders’ reserves of hay and fodder. Heavy snow and ice cover in the north of the country, means grazing and the movement of animals has become increasingly difficult. With temperatures dropping to below -40 degrees, weakened livestock are at significant risk of ill health and death with humanitarian impacts on herder families.

The most vulnerable to the impacts of the severe winter weather are herder households with less than 200 head of animals, who have limited coping mechanisms. The poor health and death of their livestock places them at risk of decreased incomes, indebtedness, difficulties in purchasing essential items, and negative coping mechanisms such as withdrawing children from education.

A Joint UN-NEMA Rapid Assessment conducted in December 2016 found many herder households in affected areas were unable to meet their basic needs including food, clothing, fuel for heating and cooking fuel, hygiene products, livestock feed and emergency communications.

As well as the impact on vital livestock, the severe winter weather is also cutting people off from accessing essential services such as healthcare and education. According to the Ministry of Health, 2,479 pregnant women, 26,166 children under five and 12,813 elderly people are wintering in areas with no or limited access to basic services.


127 soums of 17 provinces affected

157,000 people affected (37,000 herder households)

12,600 people targeted with CERF funded projects


$6,671,000 total amount required for the response