Mongolia reports loss of 4.7 million livestock in harsh winter

Mongolia has lost more than 4.7 million of its livestock herd to extreme weather conditions this winter, the country’s emergency committee reported on Tuesday.

The figure represents a sharp rise from the roughly 1.5 million reported around a month ago.

Extreme conditions – known as ‘dzud’ in Mongolia – often hit the country lying between Russia and China during the winter months. According to a UN report at the beginning of last month, this is the second year in a row that the country has faced these severe conditions.

It described dzuds as a peculiar slow-onset disaster unique to Mongolia, characterized by freezing temperatures, heavy snow and ground so frozen that animals cannot reach pasture.

Losses are often high following a dry summer, in which the livestock are unable to build up adequate stores of fat needed for the winter.

UN estimates put the total livestock herd there at 64 million animals. ‘Herding and livestock have traditionally been integral to Mongolia’s economy, culture and way of life,’
a UN report notes.

According to the state emergency committee, temperatures are currently at minus 10 degrees Celsius in certain areas. During the past winter, one of the harshest in decades, they plummeted to considerably below minus 30 degrees.

Source: Ghana News Agency