Emergency response to Extreme Winter Condition (Dzud)
On January 8, 2016, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) of Mongolia declared that 90% of the country's territory is experiencing extreme low temperatures. Since January 20, 211 out of 339 districts nationwide have been in Dzud (snow disaster) or near-Dzud conditions.
On February 2, Mongolia's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister announced that the government will cooperate with international agencies in providing relief to the Dzud victims. Regarding this as a request for international assistance, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) launched an emergency appeal.
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that 225,800 or 41% of all nomadic herder population may be impacted by this disaster, while IFRC estimates that over 965,000 people may be affected.
※1：Dzud is a cyclical slow onset disaster unique to Mongolia. It consists of a summer drought, resulting in insufficient production of hay, followed by very heavy winter snow (10 to 350 cm), winds and lower than normal temperatures (-40°C to -50°C) during which an excessive number of livestock die causing basic services, and in the longer term, livelihoods to collapse in vulnerable herder communities.（IFRC Emergency Appeal, Mongolia: Extreme Winter Condition, 29 Feb 2016）
※2：OCHA, Asia and Pacific: Weekly Regional Humanitarian Snapshot 16-22 February 2016
※3：IFRC, Emergency Appeal Mongolia: Extreme Winter Condition, 29 February 2016
※4：IFRC, Emergency Plan of Action Mongolia: Extreme Winter Condition, 15 January 2016
NGO's Project : Save the Children Japan (SCJ)
Providing educational and psychosocial support for children who suffered from the effects of the dzud
Following the summer drought came the dzud, the uniquely Mongolian natural disaster with heavy winter snowfall and temperatures dropping below -40 degrees Celsius. The dzud has affected children in Mongolia in many different ways, including the educational and psychosocial effects that warrant special concern. Children from nomadic families, who had lost their cattle to the dzud and consequently had their livelihood strained, were forced to miss school to take care of the remaining cattle, and the absence made them fall behind in their schoolwork. There were other children who could not return home to their families during winter break because of the dzud, and the psychosocial toll on them as they spent the long harsh winter in boarding houses affected their learning, too. In response to these situations, Save the Children Japan used funding from JPF to distribute heater fuel and winter assistance items to schools and boarding houses, and implemented projects to provide educational and psychosocial support for these children, including remedial classes and what is known as psychosocial first aid (PFA) training.
A total of 79 children from lower elementary grades received psychosocial support from PFA-trained secondary students, and at the end of May 2016, they were asked to express their feelings prior to and after receiving this support. They could choose from three facial expressions: sad face, normal face, and happy face. 20 children (or 25% of the total) chose the sad face prior to receiving support but there were none who chose the sad face afterwards, while 15 (or 19%) had chosen the happy face beforehand and this number grew to 70 (or 89%) afterwards. These findings suggest that the children's psychosocial state had indeed been improved.
Voice from the Field
My friend is back to his old self and doing well, and we're best friends in our class now.
My friend T lost both of his parents when he was little, and to help his grandmother who leads a nomadic life, he returned to her house during the long school break. T came back to school more than a month after school had resumed and seemed depressed, and I thought it was maybe because he had fallen behind with schoolwork and was feeling embarrassed. I'd gotten SCJ's PFA training, so I mustered up the courage to talk to T. I learned from him that he was avoiding other people because he could no longer keep up with the schoolwork. So, I talked to our teacher on behalf of T, and now the teacher pays a lot of attention to T with his studies. T is back to his old self and doing well, and we're best friends in our class now. (Beneficiary of an SCJ project)