Drought in Kazakhstan is a consequence of the world climate change


Horse cemetery in the steppe: Kazakhstan was covered by one of the strongest droughts in history — the Washington Post

Many farmers in the country remain in a difficult situation due to a lack of feed and soil degradation due to climate change and irrational land use, notes the ERI Expert.


Today, the issue of livestock deaths caused by an unprecedented drought is acute in the western and southern regions of Kazakhstan, says Yerlan Karimov, an Expert of Economic Research Institute (ERI) JSC.

According to the UN, 75% of Kazakhstan is occupied by dry steppes and deserts. Climate change puts the country at risk of environmental destabilization.  


The global wheat supplier in recent years has been overtaken by the problem of a significant reduction in harvest due to drought and steppe fires, notes the WHO.


Most of Central Asia, including Western Kazakhstan, was gripped by a drought that lasted for months. Dry winter and spring were replaced by a sharp increase in temperature in June, reports International Red Cross.


Dead horses are spread out on the dry steppes of Kazakhstan — several parts of the country are suffering from an unprecedented drought, writes The Washington Post journalist. 

The meager supplies of food and water are exhausted and most of the cattle have nowhere to graze. This led to the mass death of animals, including horses, sheep and cows. For most of the pastoralists affected by the drought, their cattle are the only source of income.


70-year-old Gabidulla Kalinbayuly, who lives in the west of the country, lost 20 horses this summer.  He told reporters that the animals remaining from his herd of 150 heads have weakened from lack of food and are susceptible to diseases.


Cases of a significant increase in temperature are happening more often, and the average temperature around the world is also growing. Scientists are very concerned about whether the animals will be able to adapt and survive in the new conditions, the article emphasizes.


“Many farmers in drought-affected regions of Kazakhstan remain in a difficult situation due to lack of forage and soil degradation”, notes the ERI Expert.

According to him, the main causes of soil degradation are climate change, which has an adverse impact on limited natural resources and worsens their condition, as well as irrational land use methods. 

The significant changes in the nature of land use and soil and vegetation cover observed in the last decade further exacerbate land degradation. In particular, they can be caused by such phenomena as:


1)      the abandonment of vast territories that were previously used for rain-fed agriculture in Kazakhstan;

2)      continuation of the decline in the level of the Aral Sea and other water bodies of the country;

3)      deforestation and desertification, soil pollution and erosion;

4)      significant losses due to the growing risk of natural disasters, such as droughts, landslides and floods.


In addition to the Aral Sea, there is now a risk of shallowing of other large reservoirs on the territory of the country – the Caspian Sea and Lake Balkhash. Thus, according to the forecasts of Matthias Prange et al. according to the scientific journal "Communications Earth & Environment", as a result of climate change, the level of the Caspian Sea may decrease by 9-18 meters by the end of the XXI century, which will further aggravate the situation of local residents.


"Kazakhstan needs to develop a clear action plan for adaptation to climate change. For example, the EU countries have been developing since this year new standards for the construction of infrastructure facilities (bridges, roads, power plants and other facilities) that must withstand extreme weather conditions, " the Expert concluded.


See also: The climate future of Kazakhstan. ERI Expert's Opinion

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Saved: 28.02.2024

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