Mongolia: A staggering loss of 5.2 million livestock, constituting 8% of the total, perished during a brutal winter freeze.

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ULAANBATAR, 27 March 2024 – Mongolia’s extreme winter conditions, or Dzud, shows no sign of abating and the country, which is at the frontlines of the global climate crisis, is paying for it dearly having lost 5.2 million livestock[1], or about 8 % of its total livestock, said Save the Children.

Many children in the worst affected areas of the country, where around a third[2] of the population is nomadic, are also missing out on school because of road closures brought on by thick snow and ice, as well as families who have been forced to tend to their herd fulltime.

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About 5.2 million livestock have been confirmed dead so far this winter out of 64.7 million livestock that were recorded alive at the end of 2023.[3]

The livestock sector is an integral part of Mongolia’s economy, accounting for an average of 13 % of the country’s GDP. It also accounts for about a quarter of all jobs and has been a part of traditional livelihoods for centuries.

Major dzuds used to take place about every decade in Mongolia but the frequency has increased in recent years due to climate change leading to pasture depletion.  This is the second consecutive severe dzud to hit Mongolia in the past decade and dzuds are expected to take place every other year going forward.[4]

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The cold weather conditions brought on by Dzud – a natural phenomenon when drought is followed by a harsh winter that kills crops and freezes livestock to death – is also taking a toll on children and families.


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