USD60 million already lost in dzud - News.MN

USD60 million already lost in dzud

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Old News! Published on: 2010.03.29

USD60 million already lost in dzud

News.MN
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An AFP report has placed the total economic losses stemming from the dzud in Mongolia at already over USD60 million. Nine human deaths have so far been reported — mainly herders who got lost in whiteouts while searching for wayward animals. UN field workers report many cases of psychological trauma as herders try to cope with the loss of their livelihoods and the sight of dead animals piling up near their homes.



Hundreds of thousands of Mongolians who lead nomadic lives and depend entirely on livestock for a living, are grappling with the country”s second straight dzud — a severe winter after a dry summer. The rare double-barreled weather phenomenon — one of the worst on record in Mongolia — often leads to food shortages for the livestock that generations in the landlocked, impoverished Asian nation have depended upon for survival.



More than 3.5 million animals — cows, sheep, goats, yaks, horses and camels — have died so far, with 60 percent of the country still buried under deep snow. The last major dzud occurred over three straight winters from 2000 to 2002, with about 2.5 million animals dying each year. This year”s dzud has been even more deadly, and officials predict that some five million animals could die before summer.



Herders with 200 animals or less have been hardest hit. Inexperienced and ill-prepared for the harsh winter conditions, many have lost 50 to 60 percent of their livestock. “The big herders have managed, but small-scale herders are not equipped to deal with a dzud as powerful as this one,” said Akbar Usmani, the UNDP country representative. “They need to be weaned away from herding into some other line of business.”

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