Mongolia: anticipation of harsh winter
11 February 2020
Mongolia is unique. 30% of the population earn their livelihoods from herding livestock, leading a traditional nomadic life to enable their animals to access pasture throughout the year. Weather conditions can be extremely harsh, with long, stormy winters where temperatures can drop as low as -40C or -50C. Herders, and therefore the wider Mongolia economy, are vulnerable to the impacts of extreme winter weather. Dry summers can mean livestock do not gain the weight needed to survive winter, combined with harsh conditions this can cause mass livestock mortality known as ‘dzud’.
Harsh winters pose a serious risk to livelihoods and herder wellbeing. They can also be predicted, making it possible to act early to reduce harm and loss. In December 2018, using a dzud risk map created by the Mongolian National Agency of Meteorology and Environmental Monitoring, the Start Fund allocated £200,000 in anticipation of harsh winter. World Vision and Save the Children intervened in seven districts in the West of Mongolia. They provided vulnerable herders with unconditional cash, hay and fodder for livestock and a booklet on protecting children and family members.