Mongolia: Snowfalls Appeal No. 02/03 Operations Update No. 2

Originally published


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Launched on 17 January, 2003 for CHF 3,906,000 (USD 2.85 million or EUR 2.67 million) for 10 months for 115,000 beneficiaries; budget decreased to CHF 3,147,000.

Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) allocated: CHF 300,000

Beneficiaries: 115,000 people or 23,000 families revised to 96,565 people or 19,313 families.

Period covered: 14 March - 30 April 2003; Last Update: 13 March, 2003; next Update no. 3 expected: 31 July 2003


Appeal coverage: 80%
Related Appeals: 2003 Annual Appeal for Mongolia (no. 01.68/2003)
Outstanding needs: CHF 883,365

Operational Developments

Launched in January 2003 following an assessment of the crisis in November 2002, the overall aim of this emergency appeal is to contribute to the dzud survival and recovery of the most affected populations in 17 aimags1 through the provision of wheat flour, children's warm clothes, and adult boots. The original planning figure of 115,000 beneficiaries has been revised to 96,565 people (or 19,313 families) following a detailed assessment exercise in the urban ger districts of Ulaanbaatar. This sought to identify the number of beneficiaries who can be '2positively verified' according to the criteria for support (see Table 1) as being 3unregistered urban poor.

In addition to contributing to immediate relief needs, this operation also focuses on building the capacity of the Mongolia Red Cross Society (MRCS) to reduce longer term vulnerability through revitalizing Red Cross local branches (primary organizations) in 17 soums4 and three aimags.

Table 1

Criteria for Support

Extended families with more than eight members.
Families with more than four children under 16 years of age.
Families with members who are home bound or bed ridden.
Families with members who may have physical challenges.

As the result of launching the appeal in January, the first round of distributions by the MRCS and the Federation started promptly, and were considerably earlier than in previous years. However, thereafter the funding was slow to crystallise causing undue delays in the procurement process. In turn these delays led to a series of complicated issues surrounding the availability of wheat flour on the market, and the extent to which we could meet the Appeals commitment to supply warm clothes and top boots.

However, now that the funding has crystallised, we are in a better position to implement the program as originally designed, although the Delegation has had to implement a 'Limited International Re-Tender'5 for wheat flour. Consequently, the second and third phases of the operation will now only be implemented in the second half of this year. Where possible, the delivery of all three commodities will be coordinated .

While the programme has so far been only partially implemented, the Mongolian Delegation remains confident that the distribution of the remaining tranches of relief goods will still have a positive impact on beneficiary families. In general, the socio-economic benefits will be the same as though distributions had been carried out in the worst of winter conditions. However, it is likely that the delivery of warm clothes and top boots would have made a significant difference in allowing children to attend school, and herders to cope with snow and ice when tending their livestock. On a positive note however, these delays have enabled the MRCS to reaffirm distribution arrangements in the soums and aimags, and the trucking of goods to designated locations, will be considerably easier now the snow and ice has abated.

The medium term weather synopsis is encouraging. Spring precipitation has begun at a time that is considered usual for Mongolia, and is perhaps indicative of the return of seasonal norms and the much needed summer rain. In retrospect, it is also considered by some national observers that the winter, while destructive to livelihoods, and undoubtedly miserable for many herders in reduced circumstances, was not as extreme as first heralded.

As referred to in the previous Operations Update, (13 March 2003) delays in funding to crystallize called for a review of the operational plan. In full agreement with the national society, this was divided into three phases based on 'geographical locations'. This was considered the most sensible if not cautious way to proceed. The worst affected areas were given first priority, and these will be followed by the less affected areas of Mongolia in due course. Now that the funding deficit has been considerably reduced, it is planned for all the 'geographical objectives' set out in the Appeal Document to be addressed.

- Phase 1: Completed in January, this phase involved the procurement and local level distribution of 1000 MT of wheat flour to soums within THREE aimags directly to the north of Ulaanbaatar, and two smaller urban communities within the same region. These included the nominated soums within the aimags of Bulgan, Selenge, and Khovsgul, and the urban aimags of Darkhan Uul and Orkhon.

- Phase 2: Funding for this phase will cover the procurement and distribution of 620 MT of wheat flour to soums within TWO aimags of Arkhangai and Ovorhangay to the south of Ulaanbaatar giving 2,065 beneficiaries 300kg of wheat flour followed by a further procurement and distribution of 360 MT to nine ger districts of Ulaanbaatar giving 2,400 beneficiaries 150kg of wheat flour.

Furthermore, Phase 2 will cover the procurement and micro-distribution of 5,015 sets and pairs of warm clothes and top boots to active herder families in rural locations within the five aimags referred to above namely; Bulgan, Selenge, Khovsgul, Arkhangai and Ovorhangay.

Finally, the costs of distribution of in-kind donations of 'new' and 'good-as-new' clothes to 2,400 urban poor families in Ulaanbaatar, and 383 urban poor families in urban soums in the Aimags of Bulgan,

Selenge, Khovsgul, Arkhangai and Ovorhangay, and the Urban aimags of Darkhan Uul will be covered by this phase.

- Phase 3: Funding for this phase will be divided between Red Cross traditional donors and ECHO. The former will cover the procurement and micro-distribution of 6,150 sets of warm clothes and 10,150 pairs of top boots, while ECHO will cover the procurement and micro-distribution of 4,000 sets of warm clothes and 3,454 MT of wheat flour. Combined, this will service 11,515 beneficiary families in the TWELVE remaining aimags of the seventeen aimags originally targeted. Third Phase funding will also cover the costs of distribution of 'new' and 'good-as-new' clothes received as in kind donations to 1,365 Urban Poor families in urban soums in the TWELVE remaining aimags of the seventeen aimags originally targeted.

Cash and in kind contributions totalling CHF 2,263, 635 have been received representing 58 percent coverage of the Appeal. The Federation has submitted a proposal totalling CHF 1,050,000 to ECHO which has been accepted, and is now waiting to receive the signed contract. This will increase the overall coverage of the Appeal to 85 percent.


1 An aimag is the largest administrative region equivalent to a province.

2 Positive verification of each beneficiary family is required. The national society view that 2,400 is a number of families that can be managed under this section of the program.

3 Unregistered refers to an administrative status of transient herders who arrive in Ulaanbaatar, but are unable to acquire state support since they are registered elsewhere, and the cost of re-registration is beyond their financial means.

4 A soum is the second largest administrative region equivalent to a county.

5 A Limited International Re-Tender is one that invites nominated national and international bids. This will be the second tender implemented for wheat flour.

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