Mongolia Impacted by Dzud; ‘Historically Cold Weather’ Expected in China
Since early November, Mongolia has experienced very low temperatures and heavy snowfall, leading to extreme conditions locally known as dzud (also called “zud,” a form of severe weather that results in loss of feed crops and livestock, Reuters). According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), dzud is a “cyclical slow onset disaster unique to Mongolia,” in which summer droughts, followed by very heavy winter snow and lower than normal temperatures lead to an excessive number of livestock deaths (ReliefWeb/IFRC). These livestock deaths not only impact access to basic services, but also affect the long-term livelihoods of herder communities. As of January 18, the IFRC has released disaster relief funds to assist 1,500 herder families at risk of losing their livestock to extreme weather conditions and food shortages (IFRC).
Government-led assessments conducted at the end of the year categorized 50 districts in 16 provinces as being affected by dzud, and another 120 districts in 20 provinces facing near-dzud conditions (ReliefWeb/UN OCHA). Conditions are expected to persist in the coming weeks, further impacting more than 965,000 people in the affected districts (ReliefWeb/IFRC).
Media reports indicate that China is also expecting “historically cold weather,” and below-freezing temperatures over the next few days are forecast for over 90 percent of the country (ReliefWeb). Cold wave warnings are in effect for several parts of central and eastern China, where sharp drops in temperature (from 4 to 14 degrees Celsius) and strong winds are expected (CMA).
RVA Country Profile: Mongolia
This Week in Hazards:
- According to a recent report on humanitarian needs released by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras are experiencing the “worst drought in decades,” made more severe by the compounded effects of El Niño (ReliefWeb/UN OCHA). The three countries lie in Central America’s “Dry Corridor,” a semi-arid region that stretches from Guatemala to Costa Rica, characterized by recurrent droughts. UN OCHA’s sub-regional analysis estimates that more than 3.5 million people are food insecure and in need of humanitarian assistance, as drought conditions persist into a second year.
- The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) also reports that El Niño-induced drought conditions “have led to a sharp deterioration in food security” in Ethiopia, estimating that the number of food insecure people doubled from August to the end of the year 2015—government-led assessments show that 10.2 million people are considered to be food insecure (FAO). According to the FAO in Ethiopia El Niño Response Plan 2016, the outlook for the coming year is “grim,” as the effects of El Niño threaten livelihoods and access to food.
Current Hazard Warnings
Flood: Indonesia, Australia (Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia), England, United States (Texas), Scotland, England
Winter Storm: United States (Washington, Northeast, Southeast)
Avalanche: United States (Western)
Tornado: United States (Texas, Louisiana)
Severe Weather: Bolivia
High Surf: United States (Hawaii)
Drought: Micronesia, Africa (Southern), Puerto Rico (Eastern), United States (Western), Colombia
Biomedical: West Africa
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