Mongolia ha de hacer frente al frío intenso mientras el invierno ártico empeora

Este invierno probablemente se verán vastas zonas de la estepa mongola afectadas por un fenómeno climático extremo, conocido como «dzud». Además, aumenta el temor de una creciente y devastadora crisis humanitaria.

Las temperaturas han bajado a -50°C y los pastos están cubiertos con 90 cm de nieve. Algunas de las carreteras principales han sido cerradas, a causa de las nevadas. Según los meteorólogos, es probable que bajen ulteriormente las temperaturas.

«Las personas más afectadas son los pastores nómadas», afirma el director de Caritas Mongolia, el P. Pierrot Kasemuana: «Algunos de ellos están atrapados entre colinas y montañas. Podrían terminar aislados y expuestos al frío y al hambre».

Once again, thousands of nomadic herders households are under threat of what is known as “Dzud”, a Mongolian term for a severe winter in which large number of livestock die. Credit: Caritas Mongolia

Once again, thousands of nomadic herders households are under threat of what is known as “Dzud”, a Mongolian term for a severe winter in which large number of livestock die. Credit: Caritas Mongolia

Help needed

The Mongolian government has requested international support. “The needs are urgent,” said Fr. Kasemuana. Caritas Mongolia has sent 200 boxes of warm clothes to some of the most affected communities.

After previous dzuds, thousands of families lost all or most of their animals and herders have been deprived of their only source of income. Many were forced to move to slum areas on the outskirts of the capital Ulaanbaatar and other urban centres.

Caritas Mongolia has sent 200 boxes of warm clothes to some of the most affected communities.

Caritas Mongolia has sent 200 boxes of warm clothes to some of the most affected communities.

“Considering that more than one-third of Mongolian population depends entirely on pastoral farming for its livelihood, harsh dzuds can cause economic crises and food security issues the country,” said Fr. Kasemuana.

Around a fifth of the population have moved to Ulaanbaatar, a doubling of the city’s number of inhabitants. Large-scale migration to the cities exacerbates social problems such as unemployment, alcoholism and extreme poverty.

Temperatures on average in Mongolia have risen by 2.07 degrees over the last 70 year. This is more than double the global average. Warm weather in the summer has exacerbated the dzud.  Less fodder is grown for the livestock. In winter, livestock can’t get to the grass buried under the snow or ice, so more fodder is needed.  There was a dzud last winter that killed more than 1 million animals.

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