Hundreds of thousands of farm animals have perished in a slow-moving natural disaster in Mongolia and the international aid response has been insufficient, the Red Cross said Friday. Mongolia has been hit by a devastating natural phenomenon known as a “dzud”, said the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) — a hot summer drought followed by a severe winter.

The combination spells doom for livestock in a country where IFRC said a third of the thinly-spread population rely on animal husbandry for their livelihoods. Goats, sheep and cows die en masse, unable to graze sufficiently in the warmer months to build up the reserves necessary to withstand later temperatures that regularly drop to -50 degrees Celsius. READ MORE