Asia

Harsh Mongolian winter risks livelihoods of herder families

  • In this Monday, Feb. 13, 2017 photo provided by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, dead animals lie in the snow in a rural area of Khuvsgul province in northern Mongolia. Exceptionally cold weather in Mongolia is putting the livelihoods of more than 150,000 nomadic herders and family members at risk just one year after another extreme winter killed more than 1 million animals, the Red Cross said Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017 as it launched an emergency appeal. (Mirva Helenius/IFRC via AP)

    In this Monday, Feb. 13, 2017 photo provided by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, dead animals lie in the snow in a rural area of Khuvsgul province in northern Mongolia. Exceptionally cold weather in Mongolia is putting the livelihoods of more than 150,000 nomadic herders and family members at risk just one year after another extreme winter killed more than 1 million animals, the Red Cross said Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017 as it launched an emergency appeal. (Mirva Helenius/IFRC via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017 photo provided by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Mongolian herder Munkhbat Bazarragchaa drags two recently dead sheep through the snow in a rural area of Khuvsgul province in northern Mongolia. Exceptionally cold weather in Mongolia is putting the livelihoods of more than 150,000 nomadic herders and family members at risk just one year after another extreme winter killed more than 1 million animals, the Red Cross said Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017 as it launched an emergency appeal. (Mirva Helenius/IFRC via AP)

    In this Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017 photo provided by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Mongolian herder Munkhbat Bazarragchaa drags two recently dead sheep through the snow in a rural area of Khuvsgul province in northern Mongolia. Exceptionally cold weather in Mongolia is putting the livelihoods of more than 150,000 nomadic herders and family members at risk just one year after another extreme winter killed more than 1 million animals, the Red Cross said Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017 as it launched an emergency appeal. (Mirva Helenius/IFRC via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Bolormaa Nordov, secretary-general of the Mongolian Red Cross Society, speaks about harsh Mongolian weather conditions known as "dzud" at a press briefing in Beijing Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. The Red Cross said exceptionally cold weather is putting the livelihoods of thousands of Mongolian herders at risk just one year after another extreme winter killed more than 1 million animals. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

    Bolormaa Nordov, secretary-general of the Mongolian Red Cross Society, speaks about harsh Mongolian weather conditions known as "dzud" at a press briefing in Beijing Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. The Red Cross said exceptionally cold weather is putting the livelihoods of thousands of Mongolian herders at risk just one year after another extreme winter killed more than 1 million animals. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)  (The Associated Press)

The Red Cross says exceptionally cold weather is putting the livelihoods of thousands of Mongolian herders at risk just one year after another extreme winter killed more than 1 million animals.

Almost half of Mongolia's population of 3 million relies on their livestock for food, transport and income and more than 40,000 cows and other animals have died already this winter. The International Federation of the Red Cross launched an emergency appeal for $650,000 Thursday.

It is the second consecutive year that Mongolia has been struck by a "dzud" (ZOOD), a summer drought followed by a prolonged winter including heavy snow and temperatures of minus 40 to minus 50 Celsius (minus 40 to minus 59 Fahrenheit).

Unique to Mongolia, a dzud typically happens every 12 years.