Skip to main content

Country analysis

Mongolia


Mongolia is currently experiencing a Dzud which is a multilayer natural disaster comprising the summer drought resulting in the inadequate pasture and production of hay followed by severe winter conditions involving a heavy snow cover, strong winds, and lower-than-normal temperatures. The scenario prevents livestock from accessing pasture or receiving adequate hay and fodder, resulting in livestock mortality especially in steppes – dry and vast grasslands devoid of trees and with little diversity in vegetation. As at 1 February 2023, around 70% of Mongolia’s landmass were facing a high or extreme Dzud situation, affecting the livelihoods of around 191,000 herder households.

Herders comprise 80% of households in rural Mongolia and are at high risk of losing their livelihoods during the Dzud period. The usual peak period for livestock mortality is from February–April. As at 16 February, prolonged malnutrition and cold stress resulting from the current Dzud have killed 417,000 livestock.

An estimated 213,000 people in 18 provinces need humanitarian assistance. An estimated 53,000 vulnerable people, including children, need immediate and life-saving assistance.

The frequency and severity of the Dzud have been increasing in recent years, and climate change is considered a major driver of the phenomenon. (OCHA 18/01/2023, OCHA 06/03/2023, WB et al. 06/2012, Caritas accessed 11/04/2023, NatGeo accessed 11/04/2023)

Mongolia is currently experiencing a Dzud which is a multilayer natural disaster comprising the summer drought resulting in the inadequate pasture and production of hay followed by severe winter conditions involving a heavy snow cover, strong winds, and lower-than-normal temperatures. The scenario prevents livestock from accessing pasture or receiving adequate hay and fodder, resulting in livestock mortality especially in steppes – dry and vast grasslands devoid of trees and with little diversity in vegetation. As at 1 February 2023, around 70% of Mongolia’s landmass were facing a high or extreme Dzud situation, affecting the livelihoods of around 191,000 herder households.

Herders comprise 80% of households in rural Mongolia and are at high risk of losing their livelihoods during the Dzud period. The usual peak period for livestock mortality is from February–April. As at 16 February, prolonged malnutrition and cold stress resulting from the current Dzud have killed 417,000 livestock.

An estimated 213,000 people in 18 provinces need humanitarian assistance. An estimated 53,000 vulnerable people, including children, need immediate and life-saving assistance.

The frequency and severity of the Dzud have been increasing in recent years, and climate change is considered a major driver of the phenomenon. (OCHA 18/01/2023, OCHA 06/03/2023, WB et al. 06/2012, Caritas accessed 11/04/2023, NatGeo accessed 11/04/2023)

Latest updates on country situation

30 May 2023

A snowstorm swept across eastern Mongolia from 19–20 May 2023, mostly affecting Dornod, Khentii, and Sukhbaatar provinces. It damaged or destroyed buildings, vehicles, and power infrastructure. As at 25 May, more than 620,000 (over 521,000 in Sukhbaatar and 107,000 in Khentii) livestock had died. The affected population needs shelter, livelihoods, and healthcare support. (IFRC 30/05/2023)

Analysis products
on Mongolia

Mongolia: Dzuds

15 January 2021

Mongolia: Dzuds

DOCUMENT / PDF / 275 KB

300,000 semi-nomadic herders live in the Mongolian steppe. Over the past two decades, climate change has made what is known as a dzud more severe and more frequent. While herders and animals living in this region are resilient to environmental hazards, dzuds put an additional strain on the lives of herders, who receive 35% of their income from livestock. 

Natural hazards
Mongolia: Extreme winter conditions

16 February 2017

Mongolia: Extreme winter conditions

DOCUMENT / PDF / 429 KB

17 out of 21 aimags (provinces) across Mongolia have been affected by a dzud, a phenomenon characterised by harsh winter conditions that result in extremely high numbers of livestock deaths. Around 157,000 herders are at risk of losing livestock and livelihoods, with the lean season expected to last until May. 

Natural hazards
View more