Humanitarian assistance reached herders in Altai province

– Implemented project funded by Japan Platform-

A strong dust storm swept across Mongolia in mid March, 2021 affecting 154 counties in 16 provinces. 706 persons went missing in the storm and 10 of them died; 531 homes and 2,254 fences and barns collapsed; and 134,266 head of livestock perished. The unprecedented violence of the dust storm caused extensive property damage and heavy stock losses for many herder households.

One such household is B.Gannyam’s, a herder from the Dariv county of Govi-Altai province, about 1,200 km from Ulaanbaatar. On that disastrous day, he was grazing his livestock on pastureland, while his wife B.Shurenkhorol was at home with their three children, aged 6-10 years. B.Gannyam barely managed to keep his herd together during the sudden fierce storm, and when he arrived home, he found his wife and children frightened and crying and the family’s ger-dwelling collapsed.

Recalling the disaster, he said “I couldn’t see anything because of the dust and could only hear the noises coming from the animals. The storm continued non-stop for several hours. That night, I borrowed a small ger from our neighbours and assembled it after fixing its door and window – our neighbour previously kept lambs and kids in it. We then continued to live in it – it was cold in spring as the wind blows through it, and hot in summer because it is small and cramped. It has been very uncomfortable for the children”.

The “Sandstorm Response Project” implemented by Save the Children provided a five-walled ger for this family. B. Gaanyam’s wife, B. Shurenkhorol, added, “I have never seen such a powerful dust storm. I was really scared at the time and it was very distressing to see our only home collapse in the storm”. When the “Sandstorm Response Project” provided a five-walled ger for his family, B.Gannyam, expressed his gratitude to the Japanese people for providing them with a new home in this desperate time. “ We and our children are now living happily in this new ger.”

Save the Children implemented the “Sandstorm Response Project” from July 5 to October 4, 2021 to support herder households like Gannyam’s and assist them to recover from their losses, as well as to offer psychological first aid tips to help children affected by the sandstorm. The project was funded by the Japan Platform Fund and implemented by Save the Children. It provided five-walled ger-dwellings for 69 herder households, hygiene kits for 300 herder households and cash assistance for 310 herder families in Dundgovi, Govi-Altai and Uvurkhangai aimags.

Recipients of humanitarian assistance were selected using criteria such as homelessness, loss of animals and other property, whether there were children in the household, and low living standards.

The hygiene kits included toothpaste, soap, laundry powder, hygiene products and psychological first aid tips for children. Each kit was valued at US$50. Cash assistance in Mongolian tugrug per household was equivalent to US $100.