Sahel Drought and Famine, 1968–1985

Starting in 1968, a series of droughts hit the Sahel region from West Africa to Ethiopia. Between the late 1960s and the the early 1980s, approximately 100,000 people died due to food shortages and disease. The droughts led to fears that the Sahel was turning into a permanent desert due to mismanagement of natural resources, overgrazing, and overpopulation. By 1985, however, wetter years arrived, and it became clear that climate variations played a significant role in the droughts. Recent studies, while not neglecting human impact on the environment, emphasize the role that changes in the global sea surface temperatures (SST) played in these climate variations.

Further Readings: 
  • Giannini, Alessandra. Sahel Drought and Global Climate Change. Panel contribution to the Population-Environment Research Network Cyberseminar on Population-Development-Environment Linkages in the Sudano-Sahelian Zone of West Africa. September 2007. View PDF