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Mongolia: Dzud - Jan 2020

Disaster types
Cold Wave
+ 1 more

IFRC released an Early Action Protocol (EAP) to guide assistance efforts for the latter half of 2019. The EAP for dzud covers 21 provinces. It will be implemented by the Mongolian Red Cross Society (MRCS), with technical support from Climate Centre. Early action has the capacity to reach up to 1,000 households or approximately 4,000 people throughout the country. The dzud risk map, which guides aid distribution, is typically published in November (when a solid snow cover is formed) by the National Agency for Meteorology and Environmental Monitoring (NAMEM). 11 different parameters outline risk factors for dzud, including summer conditions, pasture carrying capacity, number of grazers, biomass/1,500 site, anomalous precipitation, anomalous temperature, drought index, snow depth, snow cover, air temperature forecast and precipitation forecast. (IFRC, 16 Aug 2019)

On 2 January, Mongolia's National Agency for Meteorology and Environmental Monitoring announced more than 50 per cent of the country was at risk of an extreme (dzud) winter. This unwelcome news has triggered the pre-agreed release of CHF 210,968 (217,000 US dollars) to the Mongolian Red Cross Society for forecast-based action from IFRC's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). The funding provides 88 Swiss francs (90.6 US dollars) cash each for 1,000 vulnerable herder families to prevent the starvation, dehydration and cold exposure of their livestock because of poor access to feed, water, veterinary care and shelter. A livestock nutrition kit will support livestock health during winter's lean months. (IFRC, 9 Jan 2020)

As stated by National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and National Agency for Meteorology and Environmental Monitoring (NAMEM) on 12 January, over 70 percent of the country is covered by 10-30cm thick layer of snow. The joint assessment team of NEMA and MOFALI have reported that the Arkhangai, Bulgan, Govi-Altai, Dundgovi, Uvurkhangai, Sukhbaatar, Khovd, Khentii and Zavkhan provinces are experiencing severe winter as the local hay and fodder reserves have been completely consumed at soum level. Recognising their vulnerability, the Government of Mongolia allocated funding of 1.7 billion tugriks to provinces with a higher risk of being affected by dzud in December 2019. Among the recipients, 50 million tugriks have been allocated to the Uvurkhangai, Arkhangai, Dundogovi, Tuv, Bulgan, Zavkhan, Khuvsgul provinces, where most herders migrate or go on otor, and 40.3 million tugriks worth of medical and nutritional items have been allocated for the Uvurkhangai, Dundgovi, Tuv, Zavkhan and Khuvsgul provinces. UNICEF Mongolia is also piloting a cash transfer program for children aged 0-5 years living in various soums in the Zavkhan province. (IFRC, 23 Jan 2020).

The Mongolian National Agency for Meteorology and Environmental Monitoring (NAMEM) has developed an extreme winter (dzud) risk map for the country using MODIS satellite data, among other resources. The map indicates that over 50 per cent of the territory is identified with severe winter risk, while 25 per cent of the area is in mid-risk. Eight provinces have over 20 per cent of very high-risk coverage in the territory. The Mongolian dzud has severe impacts on the agricultural sector which, because of the harsh weather, remains heavily focused on nomadic animal husbandry that directly supports about a quarter of people and is the only source of income for herders. Continuous harsh conditions put at risk millions of livestock, which are the only source of food, transport and income for almost half the population of Mongolia, leaving thousands of families in hardship and forcing them to move to rural areas or outside the country. (UN Office for Outer Space Affairs, 19 Feb 2020).