Mongolia is suffering the worst winter most locals can ever remember. Aid agencies are calling it a ‘slowly unfolding disaster’ as record low temperatures continue to devastate nomadic herder communities, reports the BBC.

The government says over 4.5 million animals have died as a result of the extreme temperatures, sometimes dipping as low as -40oC. The herders’ cattle, sheep, and goats are their cash. They use them to pay for everything from food to medicine to schooling for their children. Devastation of stocks spells disaster for families that are dependant on their herds.

The extreme cold is not only wreaking havoc on livestock, but taking its toll on the mental health of the many affected communities. Cases of mental stress are severe, as families struggle to find a way to survive and provide for both families and animals.

Climate disruption is likely to worsen and increase the frequency of extreme events such as those being seen in Mongolia. Take a look at ACT’s policy recommendations for coping with extreme weather events here.