Press Release

UNFPA works with Government of Mongolia to ensure dignity and security of women and girls affected by dzud

15 February 2016

120 dignity kits with 19 items prepared with total amount of USD12, 070 equal to 24, 370,000MNT and these kits will be distributed in affected communities through NEMA.

ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia, 16 February 2016 - Mongolia is in the middle of a natural disaster. It is not what we normally imagine - an earthquake, flood, or tsunami - but a unique Mongolian disaster where extreme winter conditions and nomadic and agricultural livelihoods intersect: a ‘dzud.' A ‘dzud' denotes the extreme winter conditions that undermine the welfare and security of herding communities across rural Mongolia as a result of wide-scale losses of livestock. The 2010 dzud resulted in the loss of over 7 million heads of livestock - more than 16% of all livestock in the country - with devastating social and economic consequences for Mongolia's rural communities.

A very dry summer in 2015 resulted in low crop yields and over-grazing, meaning that herders were unable to adequately prepare hay for winter months. This was followed by excessive rain and snowfall through the fall and extreme winter temperatures. In one province, soil temperatures reached -50 degrees Celsius in December 2015. According to the State Emergency Commission, as of 18 Jan 2016, 90 soums of 20 aimags are in White-Dzud situation. Animal losses might be increased in Uvs and Zavkhan aimag.

As Mongolia faces this winter emergency, it is critical that the needs of women and adolescent girls are met and prioritized. In emergency situations that create financial hardships and displacement, women and girls need basic items to ensure their safety, security and dignity. Without access to culturally appropriate clothing and hygiene items, the mobility of women and girls is restricted and their health is compromised. Preserving dignity is essential to self-esteem and confidence - and critical to protection. As gender-based violence is known to increase in emergency situations, lifesaving items are also needed to help to reduce risk of harassment, abuse and violence. UNFPA developed Dignity Kits to address these urgent needs.

UNFPA Mongolia has developed a specific Dignity Kit for the communities affected by ‘dzud.' A dignity kit comprises the basic items that women and girls need to protect themselves and maintain hygiene and respect in the face of natural disasters. Kits contain standard hygiene items such as sanitary napkins, hand soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, underwear, and protection items including whistles, lights and etc. Dignity is about more than physical and mental well-being. It is about meeting the basic needs of the women who hold together the fabric of our communities in times of crisis.

120 dignity kits with 19 items prepared with total amount of USD12, 070 equal to 24, 370,000MNT and these kits will be distributed in affected communities through NEMA.

"Women are the backbone of Mongolian society and we must take concrete steps to ensure their safety and dignity is protected in Dzud situations" says Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA Representative. "Working with the Government of Mongolia to target support to women through the provision of dignity kits will help promote the health and well-being of herding communities across the country."