Katie Orlinsky

Visual Storyteller & Contributing Photographer
    
Mongolia Dzud
Location: North America
Nationality: American
Biography: Katie Orlinsky’s photography tells stories about the everyday lives of people in extreme situations, capturing the intimate moments of daily life behind larger global issues. For the past six years a large portion of her work has focused on... MORE
Public Story
Mongolia Dzud
Copyright Katie Orlinsky 2022
Date of Work Jan 2018 - Feb 2020
Updated Mar 2020
Topics Mongolia

"Dzud" is the Mongolian word for a winter famine. This crisis occurs when extremely cold winter weather leads to massive livestock die-offs that threaten the lives and livelihood of Mongolia’s large population of nomadic herders. 


A Dzud is both a natural disaster and an example of climate change. Warming weather and lack of rain in the summer are increasing every year in Mongolia, and there is therefore less hay available for the animals to gain the weight they need to endure the brutal winter. With cold winds coming from Siberia, temperatures drop to below -50 C. Animals can't graze and freeze or starve to death. 


Once nomadic herders lose their animals, they have no income, can’t repay their bank loans and many go bankrupt. As a result the nomadic way of life is vanishing in Mongolia as more and more families leave the countryside for the capital city Ulaanbaatar plagued by pollution and unemployment.  

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