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Winter woes in Mongolia


March 29, 2010 — A bitter cold winter combined with heavy snow has destroyed the Mongolian herder's livestock population.

Over 4 million of the herding animals in Mongolia have been killed. And winter is to blame.

The bitterly cold temperatures and heavy snow has given the animals a next to zero chance for survival. Now the country's nomadic herders are suffering as their livestock is the primary source of income.

The combination of a summer drought followed by temperatures below minus 40 degrees has caused a severe shortage of food for the animals.

Francis Markus is with the International Federation of Red Cross. He says herders may be forced to pick up and move to other districts.

“With the numbers of livestocks that have perished having gone up very, very quickly and dramatically now to about 4 million which is roughly a tenth of the whole livestock population, this means that thousands of families, mostly coming from the poorest and most vulnerable layers of the herder population, have lost their entire flocks of animals and have been left in a very, very distraught and very, very desperate state,” explains Markus.

Officials say these conditions are the worst the country has ever seen and they expect livestock deaths to continue rising.

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