JDR Vol.17 No.7 pp. 1183-1191
doi: 10.20965/jdr.2022.p1183


Social Causes of Dzuds in Mongolia Since the 1990s

Ariunaa Chadraabal*,**,†, Urjin Odkhuu***, Masato Shinoda**, and Yasuhiro Suzuki**

*National Emergency Management Agency
Partizan’s Street, Ulaanbaatar 14250, Mongolia

Corresponding author

**Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan

***Defense Research Institute, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

April 22, 2022
July 19, 2022
December 1, 2022
extreme winter weather, disaster, climate change, socioeconomic change, Mongolia

Locally known as dzuds, extreme winter weather events that are believed to arise from the interaction of hydrometeorological and climate drivers and socioeconomic forces have become increasingly frequent in Mongolia in the past few decades. As they cut off access to forage, these extreme events are associated with mass livestock deaths. Since the socioeconomic changes in the 1990s, and due to climate change, Mongolia has weathered major dzuds in 1999–2000, 2000–2001, 2001–2002, and 2009–2010. They wiped out about 4 million (11.6%), 5 million (18.5%), 3 million (12.3%), and 10 million (22%) heads of livestock, respectively. As a result, the country has been facing the challenge of examining these complex phenomena, finding ways to reduce their risk, and building resilience against them. This study adopts a systems approach to review key research and trace the occurrence of dzuds in Mongolia, understand why measures to reduce their risk have failed, and what can be done to fix this. Specifically, we focus on two dzud events that occurred 10 years apart in 1999–2000 and 2009–2010 and examine the effectiveness of social responses and countermeasures taken to tackle them. We find that a lack of accountability mechanisms and failure to treat dzud as a systemic issue have hindered efforts to reduce risk and minimize mortality. Our findings highlight the need for inclusive, integrated, and accountable handling of dzuds.

Cite this article as:
A. Chadraabal, U. Odkhuu, M. Shinoda, and Y. Suzuki, “Social Causes of Dzuds in Mongolia Since the 1990s,” J. Disaster Res., Vol.17, No.7, pp. 1183-1191, 2022.
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Last updated on Feb. 01, 2023