Slow-moving natural disaster kills more than 350 000 animals, Mongolia

Slow-moving natural disaster kills more than 350 000 animals, Mongolia

More than 350 000 farm animals have died in a slow-moving natural disaster known in Mongolia as a "dzud," International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) reports.

"Dzud" is a clinical slow-onset disaster unique to Mongolia in which hot summer drought (resulting in extreme overgrazing) is followed by a severe winter and insufficient hay for winter grazing. This, coupled with heavy snows and freezing temperatures is causing large numbers of animals to die from starvation.

Parts of Mongolia are experiencing continuous heavy snowfall and snowstorms with average temperatures below 25 °C (-13 °F) during daytime and around -40 °C/°F during the night. More than 80 000 herder families (around 400 000 people) in the northern and western part of the country are at risk with millions of livestock facing starvation in the coming weeks and months.

More than 350 000 animals have already died according to the latest available figures from the U.N. mission in the country, IFRC said on March 18. For a country where a third of the population rely on livestock to survive it means many families are quickly going from affluence to poverty.

IFRC's East Asia communications delegate Hler Gudjonsson told AFP: "We're only about one-third through the disaster."

IFRC launched an emergency appeal for more than US $800 000 to assist around 25 000 vulnerable herders, but after more than two weeks has received less than half the goal, he added.

"We already knew this was going to happen in November, but we knew that there was no way we could raise funds for something that hasn't happened yet," Gudjonsson said.

"It's not a tsunami, it's not an earthquake and it's not a sudden disaster. It's a long-term condition and situation, so we don't have a breaking point where we can say, today this happened, and people suddenly need a lot of assistance."

Most of the people that rely on livestock to survive will be forced to move to tent districts on the outskirts of Mongolia's urban areas, living without even the basics and with little or no income.

IFRC warned that more than a million animals are likely to die before the end of May.

Featured image credit: IFRC


Juliane Adams 4 years ago

I hope and pray they get help soon. They are such dear people, the mongolians. They live in yurts and really live very humbly and have a lot of dedication to their animals.They live respectfully within their families, they are good people. May God send them help soon. To learn more about them watch this impressive movie (documentary I think) " The weeping camel". What they do for the love of their animals is very dear. May God send them help.

Mark 4 years ago

Weather weapon called HAARP, causes almost all weather disasters these days,
Weather weapons!
Look it up for yourself!

hi 4 years ago


Gary Meyers 4 years ago

They could maybe divert some of the money scammed out of the carbon market to by some hay?

Post a comment

Your name: *

Your email address: *

Comment text: *

The image that appears on your comment is your Gravatar