European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

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© European Union/ECHO/Maria Olson

What are the needs?

One third of the 2.7 million population of Mongolia leads a nomadic life and depends entirely on livestock for a living. A dry summer followed by a harsh winter often leads to the death of a large number of livestock. During this natural phenomenon known as 'Dzud', temperatures can drop to -50°C across Mongolia.

The sparsely populated country is the size of Western Europe and has poor transport infrastructure. Providing assistance is a challenge as many families live in their own family compounds which are constantly on the move, with herders seeking better grazing for their animals.

Due to rapid economic growth sparked by a mining boom, many families are now leaving the rural areas and flocking to informal settlements around the capital, Ulaanbaatar, which is leading to a number of social problems. Among other things, there are many fires caused by illegal electrical connections.

How are we helping?

In 2012, the European Commission provided urgent humanitarian aid and fire prevention training to some 5 600 people living in difficult social conditions as a result of the 'Dzud'. The project was implemented by the Finnish Red Cross and the Mongolian Red Cross, providing shelter support, basic household items, winter clothing and psycho-social care to thousands of poor families.

In 2010, the Commission committed a total of €2.15 million in humanitarian aid for some 46 000 people affected by the 'Dzud'. Initially, assistance addressed the emergency needs of the worst-affected families with food, blankets and warm clothing. Later, assistance was provided to some 40 000 people to secure the survival of the livestock through fodder supplies and fodder storage facilities. Families forced to move to urban areas to escape the harsh rural conditions received food, health/social assistance and vocational training, so that households could adapt to their new environment.


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