Mongolia Overview

Does Mongolia have natural disaster?

Harsh winter Zud

Natural disaster in Mongolia

Mongolia is affected by a natural disaster called “zud” combined with heavy snow and cold. This is due to the lack of pastures due to the drought in the summer, which does not allow for adequate forage and the inability of livestock to gain enough fat reserves. Thus, zud occur in winter conditions, when there is a lot of snow in the winter, the winds are below normal, the pastures are covered with heavy snow, livestock cannot graze, and there is a lack of adequate forage.

Zud is said to occur once in a decade, but in recent years they have occurred almost every year in some parts of the country. There is a lot of research on this, but it is still controversy why the Zud occurs. This is because in the last 10 zuds, there have been two droughts in the summer.

The Zud of 2010, killed nearly 6 million animals and forced some shepherds to give up everything. In January, temperatures on the steppe plunged to -50 degrees Celsius—more than 10 degrees below average. Some herders had lost about 50-70 percent of their livestock. In some places, the snow is so thick that it is not possible for all types of vehicles to travel, while in some places there is relatively little snow, so help is available.

In result, thousands of shepherds left the steppe for the ger quarter, building houses – small fenced ger – and built gers and tin-covered brick houses in capital city Ulaanbaatar. Week after week the informal settlement grows. An estimated 40,000 people arrive every year.

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