Lately, it has been raining nearly every day here in Mongolia. And, it has been pouring.
Throughout history, Mongolians are known to have worshiped the eternal blue sky during times of the great Chinggis Khaan (often known as Genghis Khan) and before/after that. Maybe we have maddened the skies, but it has been opened as it’s just been pouring.
The rains of July 17, 2009
This rain was highly destructive. 29 people died from the ensuing floods. Eleven were from Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia. More than 130 families have been displaced from their homes as their gers (traditional Mongolian yurts) were washed away in the floods.
This was a very sad day, but I hope we, Mongolians, will learn from this. I hope we will learn to respect our mother nature and re-learn and re-live at least some of our past traditions. I hope we will not be cutting down trees so much. If we do, at least plant trees for every tree cut. It seems that the international industry wide practice that is used in the lumber and wood industry worldwide is to plant two baby trees per every tree cut. I hope that we will not be throwing all of our trash everywhere. I hope that we will respect our waters and rivers and do our best to keep them clean and running freely. I hope that we will not be building our gers and homes in the flood plains or near the river basin.
There also was another damage that I should mention: the collapsed bridge in Zaisan.
Zaisan houses some of the wealthiest and richest Mongolians on the southside of Ulaanbaatar. I don’t have all the right details, so please feel free to correct me here and also anywhere within this blog post if you have the right information. In any case, I heard that the reason the bridge collapsed was because the soil underneath the bridge became unstable. Now, this maybe has nothing to do with the fact that many constructions have taken place near the river basin. This might also not have anything to do with the rich river soils being towed away for use in construction. In any case, we should probably be more respectful and caring for the Mongolia’s beautiful nature that our forefathers preserved so pristine condition for us for thousands of years.
The Zaisan bridge was down for three/four days. Much of the traffic to/from this wealthy portion of Ulaanbaatar (or Mongolia for that matter) depended on this bridge had to be diverted to many miles north or south. In Zaisan, it seems some shops and garages were flooded as well. Many expensive Land Cruisers, Mercedes, and other expensive cars apparently floated and banged against each other.
July 17 rain in Mongolia from my office
Well anyway, here is a video recording I took from my office on July 17th. This is before realizing much of the ensuing impact and devastation. It is a mild video and does not show any of the floods or wreckage. It just shows how heavy the rain was.
Hailstorm on July 21
Here is a video I uploaded on YouTube that shows a hailstorm that took place in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia on July 21, 2009. The hail size was probably 2-3 times larger than normal hail size. It’s incredible that it has now been raining nearly everyday since Naadam. There is a traditional Mongolian saying “Autumn after Naadam” and also something about rains coming after Naadam as well. However, the rains have been frequent and intense this year. The last few years were actually quite a bit dry.
Here is the video:
References and Resources
If you are interested in reading more about the rains in Mongolia, here are a few other resources.
- Mongolia suffers worst flash flooding in decades by 3 News
- UN health agency joins relief efforts after deadly floods strike Mongolia by United Nations News Centre
- “Deadly Mongolian Flood Rescues Slow” on New Tang Dynasty Television
- Хvчтэй аадрын улмаас 29 хvн алтан амиа алдлаа by Olloo.mn, Mongolia’s top online news portal
It seems now that the United Nations Chief is in Mongolia to address Climate Change. UN chief Ban Ki-moon has been in Mongolia since Sunday and have been meeting with herders who have been impacted by the climate change the most. Read more here: UN chief in Mongolia to highlight climate change