2012 Sahel drought

Future droughts of the Sahel Region

The droughts are becoming increasingly more common, worse and more threatening due to global warming.[1] A possible explanation to the aridity trend is the supplements of an oceanography phenomenon called El Niño.[1] An idea is that evaporation is occurring at higher rate due to the change in Sea surface temperature, this then impacts the amount of rain the Sahel region receives[1] Another factor to keep into consideration is the response of our atmosphere to stimulants like greenhouse gases and carbon emissions.[1]

Sahel Map-Africa rough
The Sahel region – a belt up to 1,000 km wide that spans Africa from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea

Societal impacts

Mass Famine

Valerie Amos, UN Humanitarian Chief during 2012, released a statement during the year stating that over 15 million people were malnourished in West Africa and the Sahel region.[2] The main contributor to the famine was the drought of Sahel, ensued from a combination of failing crops and El Niño.[1]

Mauritania and Chad recorded a loss in crop yield of over 50% when compared to 2011. Food reserves in the areas affected were very low and combined with corn prices soaring by 60-85% compared to averages over the last five years. In Chad alone this food crisis affected some 3.6 million people.[3] In places like Burkina Faso over 2.8 million were suffering from famine and in Senegal over 800,000 did not have enough to eat.[2]

External links


  1. ^ a b c d e Dai, Aiguo (2013-01-01). "Increasing drought under global warming in observations and models". Nature Climate Change. 3 (1): 52–58. doi:10.1038/nclimate1633. ISSN 1758-678X.
  2. ^ a b Mendy Diop (May 24, 2012). "UN relief coordinator warns over humanitarian crisis in Africa's drought-hit Sahel". UN News Centre. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
  3. ^ "Food Crisis in Sahel". Oxfam International. Retrieved 10 June 2012.
2010 Sahel famine

A large-scale, drought-induced famine occurred in Africa's Sahel region and many parts of the neighboring Sénégal River Area from February to August 2010. It is one of many famines to have hit the region in recent times.The Sahel is the ecoclimatic and biogeographic zone of transition between the Sahara desert in the north of Africa and the Sudanian savannas in the south, covering an area of 3,053,200 square kilometers. It is a transitional ecoregion of semi-arid grasslands, savannas, steppes, and thorn shrublands.The neighboring Sénégal River Area contains various vegetation types and covers parts or all of Mauritania, Mali, Senegal and Guinea. It has also had very low rainfall over the last year according to the UN, NGOs and the Senegal River Basin Development Authority. Sudan set a new temperature record of 49.7 °C (121.3 °F) on 22 June, in the town of Dongola.

Aktion Deutschland Hilft

Aktion Deutschland Hilft e.V. – Bündnis deutscher Hilfsorganisationen (ADH) (Campaign Germany helps association - alliance of German aid organisations) with headquarter in Bonn is a connection of German Aid agencies for Humanitarian aid, with the target to help faster and more efficient through coordination and combination of efforts in case of a disaster and to raise Donations together.

Geography of Niger

Niger is a landlocked nation in West Africa located along the border between the Sahara and Sub-Saharan regions. Its geographic coordinates are longitude 16°N and latitude 8°E. Its area is 1.267 million square kilometers, of which 1 266 700 km² is land and 300 km² water, making Niger slightly less than twice the size of France.

List of droughts

This is a list of significant droughts, organized by large geographical area and then year.

List of famines

This is a list of famines.


Oxfam is a confederation of 20 independent charitable organizations focusing on the alleviation of global poverty, founded in 1942 and led by Oxfam International. It is a major nonprofit group with an extensive collection of operations. Winnie Byanyima has been the executive director of Oxfam International since 2013.


The Sahel () is the ecoclimatic and biogeographic zone of transition in Africa between the Sahara to the north and the Sudanian Savanna to the south. Having a semi-arid climate, it stretches across the south-central latitudes of Northern Africa between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea. The name is derived from the Arabic word sāḥil (ساحل, Arabic pronunciation: [ˈsaːħil]) meaning "coast" or "shore" in a figurative sense (in reference to the southern edge of the vast Sahara), while the name in Swahili means "coastal [dweller]" in a literal sense.

The Sahel part of Africa includes (from west to east) parts of northern Senegal, southern Mauritania, central Mali, northern Burkina Faso, the extreme south of Algeria, Niger, the extreme north of Nigeria, central Chad, central and southern Sudan, the extreme north of South Sudan, Eritrea, Cameroon, Central African Republic and the extreme north of Ethiopia.Historically, the western part of the Sahel was sometimes known as the Sudan region. This belt was roughly located between the Sahara and the coastal areas of West Africa.

Sahel drought

The Sahel has long experienced a series of historic droughts, dating back to at least the 17th century. The Sahel region is a climate zone sandwiched between the African Savannah grasslands to the south and the Sahara desert to the north, across West and Central Africa. While the frequency of drought in the region is thought to have increased from the end of the 19th century, three long droughts have had dramatic environmental and societal effects upon the Sahel nations. Famine followed severe droughts in the 1910s, the 1940s, and the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, although a partial recovery occurred from 1975-80. The most recent drought occurred in 2012.

While at least one particularly severe drought has been confirmed each century since the 17th century, the frequency and severity of recent Sahelian droughts stands out. Famine and dislocation on a massive scale—from 1968 to 1974 and again in the early and mid-1980s—was blamed on two spikes in the severity of the 1960-1980s drought period. From the late 1960s to early 1980s famine killed 100,000 people, left 750,000 dependent on food aid, and affected most of the Sahel's 50 million people. The economies, agriculture, livestock and human populations of much of Mauritania, Mali, Chad, Niger and Burkina Faso (known as Upper Volta during the time of the drought) were severely impacted. As disruptive as the droughts of the late 20th century were, evidence of past droughts recorded in Ghanaian lake sediments suggest that multi-decadal megadroughts were common in West Africa over the past 3,000 years and that several droughts lasted far longer and were far more severe.Since the 1980s, summer rainfall in the Sahel has been increasing; this has been associated with an increase in vegetation, forming what has been called a 'greening' of the Sahel. The observed increase in rainfall is accounted for by enhancements in the African easterly jet, which is known to induce wet anomalies. A 2011 study found that the positional shifts in the African easterly jet and African easterly waves accompanied the northward migration of the Sahel rainband.

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