Sahel

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Sahel

(sähĕl`), name applied to the semiarid region of Africa between the SaharaSahara
[Arab.,=desert], world's largest desert, c.3,500,000 sq mi (9,065,000 sq km), N Africa; the western part of a great arid zone that continues into SW Asia. Extending more than 3,000 mi (4,830 km), from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea, the Sahara is bounded on the N by
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 to the north and the savannassavanna
or savannah
, tropical or subtropical grassland lying on the margin of the trade wind belts. The climate of a savanna is characterized by a rainy period during the summer when the area is covered by grasses, and by a dry winter when the grasses wither.
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 to the south, extending from Senegal and Mauritania on the west, through Mali, N Burkina Faso, Niger, N Nigeria, and Chad, to Sudan and Eritrea on the east. It has more rainfall (8–16 in./20–40 cm) and better grazing lands than the Sahara, but it is periodically afflicted by droughts that reduce its normally meager water supply and shatter its grazing and agricultural economy. A particularly prolonged and devastating drought from 1967 to 1974 contributed to the starvation of of hundreds of thousands of people, and forced the mass migration southward of many others.

Sahel

 

the narrow (320–480 km) band of semideserts and desert savannas in Africa that are transitional between the deserts of the Sahara and the characteristic topography of the Sudan. The Sahel stretches for more than 4 million sq km from Mauritania and Senegal in the west through Mali, Upper Volta, and Niger to Chad and the borders of the Sudan. The area of the Sahel varies from year to year, depending on the amount of annual precipitation (100–350 mm) in the north to 300–600 mm in the south). Rain falls in the summer for a period ranging from two or three weeks to three months, but 80 or 90 percent of the moisture evaporates. The Sahel is periodically subject to disastrous droughts, when virtually the entire area becomes uninhabitable desert; this was the case in 1941 and 1942 and from 1972 to 1975.

The northern Sahel has mostly sparse semidesert vegetation, such as turf grasses, shrubs, and low-growing trees, especially acacias. This region is inhabited by nomadic herders who raise cattle, sheep, and goats. In the southern Sahel, sparse thorn forests, groves of palms (doom and palmyra), and baobabs predominate. Nomads and communities of settled land cultivators live in the area, and millet and peanuts are grown.

sahel

[sə′hel]
(ecology)
A region having characteristics of a savanna or a steppe and bordering on a desert.
(meteorology)
A strong dust-bearing desert wind in Morocco.
References in periodicals archive ?
Last year, the United Nations Security Council approved a resolution backing a 5,000-strong African joint force to protect external borders, combat terrorism and crime in Sahel countries.
The Sahel countries have launched a "courageous initiative" he said deserves "strong political, as well as operational and material support.
The Qatari organisations made presentations of their charitable work in many Sahel countries.
Ghana, whose base score was similar to South Africa's, is now more on par with scores from the Sahel countries.
And it said hundreds of foreigners are fighting in Yemen, Libya and Pakistan, around 100 in Somalia, and others in the Sahel countries in northern Africa, and in the Philippines.
Two years alter stopping the advance of Islamic militants in northern Mali, thousands of French soldiers remain in Mali and other Sahel countries in an extended counterterrorism operation.
The move was welcomed by Rabat, which nonetheless reiterated its "natural and irreversible commitment" to building the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) to strengthen economic cooperation between several North African and Sahel countries.
He said the increase of about 130 percent was due to "tensions linked to the situations in the Sahel countries, Syria and Iraq.
Describing the latest developments in Libya, Nguessou spoke about a "disaster" and "a situation of non-State," pointing out that "the situation is quite serious and is becoming a problem for the Maghreb and Sahel countries.
In this regard, Sellal said having broached with the Egyptian officials, notably President Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi and the Premier Mahleb various issues related to the recovery of security in the region, especially in the Sahel countries and in Libya, affirming that Algeria and Egypt "share the same view" concerning the necessity of restoring stability in those countries which experience multi-dimensional crises, notably terrorism.
We (Niger) are fighting to create an organization that brings together Sahel countries so that solutions are in place to face our common (security) difficulties,' he said.
During a meeting with the Chadian President, Idriss Deby Itno, in the presence of the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon; the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma; and the European Union Commissioner to Development, Andris Piebalgs, the President of the AfDB pointed out that solidarity with the Sahel countries is imperative.