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Extreme cold 'threatening people's health' in Mongolia

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  • Extreme cold 'threatening people's health' in Mongolia


    Extreme cold 'threatening people's health' in Mongolia


    Cold weather that has hit Mongolia this week has resulted in the death of around one million animals in the country and poses a threat to people's health and livelihoods.

    This is according to the United Nations, which informed that heavy snow has forced temperatures down to as low as minus forty degrees Celsius in Mongolia this week, the Associated Press reported.

    Not only is this putting a strain on the country's infrastructure, but it is serving to worsen poverty after a summer of drought, the organisation added.

    Rana Flowers, the UN's resident coordinator in Mongolia, explained: "The poor did not have the resources to stockpile food or fuel for heating and the supplies in the now-inaccessible villages as a whole are stretched."

    Of particular concern are pregnant women, malnourished children and those susceptible to pneumonia whose access to healthcare has been cut off due to the weather, Ms Flowers added.

    In related news, it was revealed earlier this month that Mongolia received its first supplies of the H1N1 virus vaccine, The World Health Organization informed Voice of America.

    Written by John Curtis

  • #2
    Re: Extreme cold 'threatening people's health' in Mongolia


    In Mongolia concerns grow over extremely severe winter weather conditions and expected humanitarian impact

    News - Environment News
    Monday, 25 January 2010 23:11

    25 January 2010 – Mongolia is currently threatened by a “Dzud”, which is a multiple natural disaster consisting of a summer drought producing small stockpiling of fodder, followed by very heavy winter snow and lower than normal temperatures.

    Heavy and continuous snowfall and blizzards have resulted in a sharp fall in daily temperatures - dropping to below -40°Celsius in 19 out of a total of 21 ‘aimags’ (provinces) in Mongolia.

    According to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the extreme cold and heavy snow have already caused the death of more than one million livestock, worsening food security and predicted subsequently to result in a deepening of poverty and increased internal rural-urban migration for many families. According to the World Bank, livestock herding today, accounts for around 35% of employment in Mongolia.

    In addition to a concern for the situation of isolated herding families, the agencies making up the United Nations Team are assessing the situation of the poor, particularly those living in the 94 soums (villages) considered to be most affected and inaccessible. “The poor did not have the resources to stockpile food or fuel for heating and the supplies in the now inaccessible village as a whole are stretched”, said Rana Flowers, the Resident Coordinator a.i. in Mongolia. “The UN agencies have mobilized to assess the situation and coordinate our efforts to reach the most affected populations. In addition to the impact this is having on livelihoods now and into the future, we are worried about the immediate plight of the isolated population. Among health concerns are pregnant women cut off from facilities and trained care (three women have reportedly already died in childbirth); increases in ARI and pneumonia in the light of the H1N1 in the country among children and pregnant women; and malnutrition levels with lowering levels of access to food and nutrition in affected areas”, she added.

    In addition, children who have been ordered to remain in dormitories due to the danger they would face trying to travel to their families in such conditions, are living with limited and extremely poor heat and limited food supplies in many schools. There are approximately 22,200 children in 265 dormitories in need of assistance.

    In the last dzud of 2001, not considered to be as severe as the current 2010 experience, an increase in malnutrition and acute infections of children and pregnant mothers were documented. The plight of populations in the post-dzud period which lasts from late February to early spring is also a period of concern with food supplies having been exhausted and the animal supply severely depleted, and the risk of disease heightened. The trauma of losing livelihoods results in families and children at high risk of developing extreme fatigue and psychological stress.

    The Government has appealed to the donor community for food, flour, rice, medicines and equipment, candles, heating supplies, warm clothing, as well as for funding to buy and deliver fodder for livestock. The United Nations in Mongolia was formally requested to coordinate all donor contributions.

    The United Nations agencies and specialized agencies actively contributing to the relief efforts in Mongolia include FAO, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, WHO and UN-HABITAT.

    For more information please contact:
    Rana Flowers, Resident Coordinator a.i and UNICEF Representative, phone: +976 11 326221
    Wiwat Rojanapithayakorn, WHO Representative, phone: +976 11 327870
    Argentina Matavel, UNFPA Representative, phone: +976 11 323665
    Shoko Noda, UNDP Resident Representative, phone: +976 11 327585
    N. Oyundelger, FAO Assistant Representative, phone: +976 11 352512