Winter likely to worsen

It’s like Déjà vu all over again for Mongolia’s herders
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and National Agency for Meteorology,Hydrology and Environment Monitoring say that the wintering situation in 88 soums of 15 aimags may worsen. As of December 15, about 70 percent of Mongolia’s total territory was covered with snow, of which about 15 percent or Bayan-Olgii, Khovsgol, Ovorkhangai, Bulgan, Darkhan-Uul, Selenge, Dundgobi, Khentii, Dornod and Sukhbaatar aimags have thick snow of around 10-45cm. Areas with thicker than 10cm and thick snow fell in Ulaangom Soum of Uvs Aimag; Chandmani and Altai soums of Khovd Aimag; Buregkhangai, Selenge and Gurvanbulag soums of Bulgan Aimag; Orkhon and Baruunburen soums of Selenge Aimag; Shaazgait soum of Darkhan-Uul Aimag; Khujirt and Uyanga soums of Ovorkhangai Aimag; Zuunmod, Ugtaal and Bayan-Onjuul soums of Tov Aimag; Khuld soum of Dundgobi; Matad, Dashbalbar, Gurvanzagal, Tsagaan-Ovoo, Khalkhgol and Kholonbuir soums of Dornod Aimag; Erdenetsagaan, Bayandelger, Dariganga, Tumentsogt and Naran soums of Sukhbaatar Aimag; and Bayan-Ovoo soum of Khentii Aimag became solid and hardened, troubling animals to pasture. Warmer temperature than in many years’ average in most territories caused the snow to become solid. By last winter’s dzud disaster, 8.9 million animals died, causing Mongolia to suffer a loss worth Tgs5 billion. Commissioner S. Tsogtbaatar, chief of Disaster Mitigation Department at NEMA, said, “With a purpose to prevent from dangers of dzud disaster, government resolution #166 on actions for wintering preparations was issued and relevant organizations were instructed to prepare hay in aimags and at city levels and store up reserves of hay and fodder. Currently, the activity of storing hay reserves is going at 52 percent in the city and aimag levels and 70 percent in soum and district levels. Moreover, Gobi aimags that are unable to prepare hay in their territories established agreement to use 170,000 ha areas in aimags especially Tov, Khentii and Selenge for the a purpose of preparing hay. In accordance with government assignments, we distribute hay and fodders from the State reserve to some aimags before high mountain passes are blocked with snow. We also pay attention to activities of entities that will work for preparing reserve of firewood for kindergartens and schools in aimags and soums and for eliminating snow in case of a huge snow blockage at mountain passes. There are over 300 personnel in emergency service; however they are not completely provided with techniques, especially trucks we often use to eliminate deep snow has a low capability to cross snow.”
Additionally, trainings were organized in Khovd, Bayan-Olgii, Uvs, Zavkhan, Khovsgol, Ovorkhangai, Arkhangai and Gobi-Altai aimags that suffered dzud disaster last winter. The trainings were directed to make plans to prevent from dzud earlier, prepare hay and fodder and render health and social welfare services.
In the same period of the previous year, 65 out of 230 soums of 12 aimags were in a disaster situation and 68 were in dzud condition. For  this year, the situation is much better.
However, January is the coldest month and it is likely to be severely cold and stormy. Therefore, herders are warned to be prepared. Last winter, 19 aimags were in dzud situation, 8.9 million animals perished throughout the nation and 8,711 herders had lost all their animals.
A survey showed that a half of the herders who lost animals moved to Ulaanbaatar. On December 16, the Red Cross Society of Mongolia donated 50 thousand Euros under the funding of the Principality of Monaco to 226 herder families who suffered last year’s dzud disaster. Every herder family of Saikhan-Ovoo and Delgerkhangai soums of Dundgobi Aimag that suffered disaster the most, received 186 Euros. As a result of the Red Cross Society of Mongolia’s international appeal, assistance worth 1.2 million Swiss Francs was rendered to 6,078 families last year.
source: 'The Mongol Messenger' newspaper

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