Mongolia: UN provides more funds as severe winter continues to bite

29 March 2010
Extreme weather known in Mongolia as a dzud has killed over one million head of livestock

The United Nations has allocated $3.7 million in emergency funding to support UN agencies in Mongolia as they try to assist more than half a million people suffering from the combined effects of a long, severe winter and a preceding harsh summer drought.

A “dzud,” which is unique to Mongolia, can have a devastating impact on the rural economy. Herders and villages become isolated as heavy snows and high winds result in layers of ice that are impenetrable to livestock which already do not have enough feed because of the earlier drought.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today that it has stationed a natural disaster response expert in Mongolia to provide support to the UN Resident Coordinator on the crisis.

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) received $1.5 million of an allocation from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which was released last month, for livestock carcass removal and income generation for 120,000 people who have lost at least 50 per cent of their livestock.

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) is using $1.5 million to fund projects to provide emergency medical supplies, food and fuel to 43,000 children under the age of five, 8,200 pregnant women, and 17,200 school children.

Some $600,000 of the CERF funds was allocated to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for emergency livestock-support projects for 1,100 dzud-affected families, while the UN World Health Organization (WHO) received $227,000 for psychosocial support, medical supplies and communications tools.

Another $227,000 was allocated to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) for emergency reproductive health support for 7,000 pregnant women, lactating mothers and other vulnerable women of reproductive age.

The humanitarian impact of the dzud has been worsening since January and there is a growing need to prevent serious medium-term problems, including increased levels of poverty, higher chronic malnutrition and disease levels, massive migration to poorly serviced and overcrowded outer-urban areas, unemployment and psychological problems.


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