Situated in one of the most inhospitable regions of the planet, Mongolia is known for its long and harsh winters. However, when the ‘dzud’ climatic phenomenon strikes, winter reaches a whole other level. Unique to this part of the world, the cyclical, slow-onset disaster is characterised by a prolonged summer drought followed by a severe winter, which brings biting cold weather conditions, heavy snowfall and thick layers of ice blanketing vast swathes of the Mongolian steppes. This year, the ‘dzud’ has struck for the second year in a row.
Over the last few months, it has already killed close to 50 000 heads of livestock, after more than one million had already perished during the 2015-2016 'dzud'. With herds being the only source of livelihood for most of the pastoralists, many families are struggling to cope. The European Commission has responded to the situation by teaming up with the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in order to provide life-saving, cash assistance to herders living in extremely remote areas.
Video by IFRC