ADB approves $2.8 million grant for dzud disaster response in Mongolia

ByAsian Development Bank

ADB approves $2.8 million grant for dzud disaster response in Mongolia

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $2.8 million grant to support the Government of Mongolia’s relief efforts for dzud—a climate-related disaster wherein a summer drought is followed by heavy winter snow with plummeting temperatures that inhibits access to winter pasture and heavy loss of livestock.

“About 70% of all herder families in the country have been severely affected by dzud, with the disaster impacting 55% of all sums (subprovinces) across all 21 provinces and 4 districts of the capital city,” said ADB Country Director for Mongolia Shannon Cowlin. “Pastoral households, especially those with smaller herd sizes, face the prospect of losing their livelihoods, and the disaster is also putting human health and lives at risk.”

The grant, financed by the Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund (APDRF), will help fund the provision of cash and the immediate purchase of food supplies, fuel, medical and emergency kits, as well as communication and rescue equipment to affected herder households. APDRF is a special fund designed to fast-track grants to ADB developing member countries affected by disasters triggered by natural hazards.

According to the United Nations Dzud Dashboard, an extended period of extreme cold weather in the country with persisting temperatures below –40°C from mid-December 2023 has led to the loss of more than 4.7 million livestock, which is around 7% of the country’s total livestock. The severe impacts of harsh winter conditions could continue until June 2024, when pastures start regenerating, risking substantial additional livestock mortality.

Other impacts of dzud include the threats to health and human lives due to sustained extreme temperatures and psychological trauma caused by extreme stress, including on children. The heavy snowfall has also blocked access to roads and passes around the country, which is hindering herder households from accessing essential health and education services.