Death toll rises to six from snowstorm in Mongolia

ULAN BATOR (Xinhua) – The death toll rose to six from a snowstorm that swept across central and southern parts of Mongolia in the weekend, the country’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said yesterday.

“Rescuers and officials found alive 64 of the 70 people who (got) lost in the snowstorm,” Bor Dulamsuren, public relations officer of NEMA, told a press conference in the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator.

Four nomadic herders in Umnugovi province and two herders in Uvurkhangai province froze to death, said Dulamsuren.

In addition, thousands of livestock animals were frozen to death or went astray, and many yurts and power lines were taken down in the snowstorm, she said.

More snowstorms are expected to hit large parts of the country in the coming days, she noted, urging citizens, especially herders, to take extra precautions against possible disasters.

Snowstorms are frequent in spring in Mongolia, which is one of the last nomadic countries in the world. Nearly 40 per cent of the country’s nomadic population depend on animal husbandry for their livelihood.