Camels have developed unique biological mechanisms that help them to adapt to harsh and extreme environment and go without water and food for weeks. Camel’s humps consist of stored fat that support them when food and water is scarce. Body temperature of camels fluctuates throughout a day from 340C to 41.70C. This allows the camel to conserve water by not sweating as the environmental temperature rises. When water is available, they can drink up to 57 liters of water at one drinking session. Another difference is their ability to drink salty water.
Size of camels helps them to find and eat tall grass and trees that no other animal can reach. Faced with lack of food, camels can increase size of their stomachs and slowly digest food. These unique abilities of camels help them survive dzuds and other natural disasters more than any other animals. It was observed that herders lost less than 4% of camel herd during any major dzud occurred in the last 60 years, whereas losses of other types of livestock were between 15% and 40%. So camels are crucial for local communities to support their livelihoods, protect against natural disasters and develop their resilience skills.
MOR2 project assessed performance of formally organized herder groups, or community based rangeland management organizations (CBRM) in 10 aimags. Their research showed that CBRM communities have higher social outcomes than communities without formal CBRM organizations. These communities use more traditional and innovative rangeland and livestock management practices, are more pro-active in solving problems and communicating with local authorities, have larger social networks, and higher levels of trust and mutual assistance.
Local organizations, government and non-government, frequently invite our staff to help conduct trainings, provide consultancies, share best practices and lessons learned, evaluate bids and give presentations at different meetings and conferences. According to the data, collected by the aimags, our rural staff participated in 89 activities organized and funded by local organizations during the first five months of this year. 2568 individuals directly benefited from these activities. More than half of these activities (46) were meetings and 54% of all meetings were organized to evaluate bids. Our staff provided 28 trainings and consultancies (31%) to rural residents.
We are proud for being able to contribute to local development, even though most of our projects ended. This trust our local partners place in us proves that Mercy Corps is highly valued and respected by rural people. We would like to thank our field teams for their level of commitment and dedication in building and maintaining our reputation.
LTS2 will build on the previous efforts of LTS1 and its successful SMS program piloted in six of the 13 target aimags. The LTS2 program will reduce the target area to 69 soums in 10 aimags that are at high risk of dzud, as measured by historic losses of life, animal resources or assets. The SMS system draws on multiple weather forecasting data systems utilizing weather, temperature and pasture information from the LEWS and the Norway Weather Forecasting Center. Mercy Corps, the MNDI and Keio University will collaborate to institutionalize the skills and equipment needed for message creation within MNDI and scale message delivery to 10 aimags and 69 soums. The program will directly target herders, emergency management staff and community organizations to promote the message service and provide training on receiving, understanding and applying the information to herd management, risk reduction and response strategies.
On June 4 at the U.S. Embassy in Ulaanbaatar, Ambassador Piper Campbell, USAID representative Daniel Miller, Mercy Corps Country Director Jennifer Bielman and senior officials from the World Vision, NEMA and the National Institute of Mongolia held an official ceremony to launch two disaster risk reduction projects to assist Mongolia in preparation for natural disasters: Mercy Corps’ LTS II and Risk Reduction and Resilience at Mongolian schools project implemented by the World Vision.
Disaster risk reduction is one of very important aspects of the U.S. assistance to Mongolia. In the last four years, the U.S. Government has provided about $3.5 million for projects related to disaster risk reduction, humanitarian assistance and training in Mongolia. Mercy Corps will work with national and local partners to disseminate weather forecasting information and train local communities to improve their capacity to manage dzud risks in target aimags.