Mongolia: Hundreds of thousands of herd animals die in extreme winter

As of: February 26, 2024 1:19 p.m

Mongolia is struggling with the consequences of snow and ice disasters. More than one and a half million herd animals have already died this winter. Due to the extreme weather, the cattle can no longer find food.

Severe cold and snowfall have caused severe economic losses to herders in Mongolia. According to the State Emergency Commission, more than one and a half million herd animals have already died this winter. It is estimated that there are around 64 million herd animals in Mongolia.

“Dzud” is the name given to the snow and ice disasters that repeatedly hit the country in the winter months. The weather phenomenon means that the cattle can no longer find food because the ground is frozen or the pastures are covered by snow. Losses are often particularly high after a dry summer. This means that the animals cannot eat enough fat for the winter.

The United Nations had already warned about the situation two weeks ago. Livestock is an integral part of Mongolia’s economy, culture and way of life, a UN report says. Now the herders are struggling with a lack of feed and skyrocketing feed prices. For Mongolia it is already the second “Dzud” winter in a row.

Pope points to climate change

On Sunday, Pope Francis expressed his closeness to the affected people in Mongolia in front of pilgrims and believers in St. Peter’s Square in Rome. “This extreme phenomenon is also a sign of climate change and its effects,” said the head of the Catholic Church.

The “climate crisis” is a global social problem and primarily affects the most vulnerable. Francis only visited Mongolia in September last year. Around 1,500 Catholics live there.

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