The extreme winter in Mongolia killed over 2 million animals

Photo: MIA

More than two million animals have died this winter in Mongolia, a government official said today, citing weather conditions as the country battles extreme cold and snow.

Extremely cold temperatures from December to March are nothing new in the East Asian country, where some areas can drop to -50 degrees Celsius.

The United Nations has said that climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of droughts. Mongolia has faced six droughts in the past decade, including one in the winter of 2022/2023 that killed 4,4 million cattle.

This year's famine was exacerbated by the summer drought, which prevented animals from building up the reserves of fat tissue that would help them survive the harsh winter.

Seventy percent of Mongolia faces "drought" or similar conditions, according to the UN. In the same period last year, that figure was 17 percent.

This year's snow made the situation worse for herders, trapping them in colder regions and preventing them from buying fodder and hay for their animals in nearby towns.

Mongolia is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world, with about a third of its population of 3,3 million living a nomadic lifestyle.

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