|Scooped by Derek Ethier|
The Sahel: An Introduction
The Sahel refers to the zone in Africa where the Sahara Desert transitions into savannas and rain forests in the South of the continent. In Arabic, the word "Sahil" literally means shore or coast, referring to the vegetation of the Sahel as a type of coast compared to the sands of the Sahara. 18 million people across nine countries (Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Algeria, Niger, Chad, Sudan, South Sudan and Eritrea) inhabit this 1,000 km belt stretching from the Atlantic in the west to the Red Sea in the east. Recent droughts in the Sahel, due to poor farming techniques, overgrazing, overpopulation and infrequent rain, have led to widescale famine, dust storms, starvation and devastation. It is a very vulnerable region that has more recently been monitored by international organizations attempting to help those affected by diarrhea, starvation, malnutrtition and respiratory diseases. The question on most aid worker's minds is how to end this relentless cycle of food shortages, and that is what they are working to do. Unfortunately for the millions of people that inhabit this region, this large scale drought and famine has widely negative economic, social and political ramifications.