In 1972 part of Africa was in one of the worst droughts ever to hit earth. To the South of the Sahara Desert lies the marginal zone, better none as the Sahel. This area has been the home to nomads and settling agriculturalists for many hundreds of years. From 1968 the rain slowly decreased until in 1972 there was hardly any rain fall at all............
Major rivers in the area like the Niger and Senegal fell to their lowest levels known in this century. Even the great Lake Chad evaporated into one-third of its normal size. These major water suppliers provided water for millions of animals, humans and their crops of coffee, cocoa and peanuts were totally ruined.
The drought most badly hit the states of Mali, Chad, Mauritania, Senegal, Upper Volta and Niger. In these area the death toll reached a totoal of 200 000. It was only until the middle of the 1973, that the world came to learn about the devastation that was hitting the countries in Africa.
This particular drought affected the government of these countries as well. The Emperor of Ethiopia was not informed about the extent of the drought in the country, and becasue he was unable to help he lost his 40 year reign of power. The drought in Niger also indirectly caused political crisis. This resulted in the overthrow of the Government by a millitary coup.
Drought has a major effect on the people, especially the Nomads. They have had to change thier lifestyles totally. The Nomads have deserted their usual camps and moved to the outskirts of towns which will be able to provide food and water for them to survive.
For many years after the drought Nomad grazing lands had been reduced to support their herds of cattle which is the basis of Nomadiac life, so Nomads have had to learn the ways of sedentary farmers.