News

    Desertification Pushes South Across West African Borders

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Desertification is pushing further south in West Africa, crossing borders and creating devastating effects on local populations. One example where the desert is advancing is from Mauritania to northern Senegal. VOA's Nico Colombant met with residents in the Podor border region who say their livelihoods are now at risk.

    Oumar Samba Kane, a 53-year-old local farmer, walks across caked, cracked and parched earth, which used to be a river 150 meters wide.

    He says everyone used to use the river to wash clothes, to get fish, and to water the cattle.

    He says every year now, there is more and more wind, which seems to be bringing more and more sand, pushing it into fields, making more and more dunes, and blocking waterways.

    In his shed, which he says used to be full of bags of cereal and beans, there are now just a few bags to feed his family and other villagers.

    As birds chirp overhead, the village chief from nearby Singthou Amadou Mariam walks along the Senegal River that divides Senegal from Mauritania.

    It is barely several-meters deep, getting narrower and narrower from year to year, while pipes that run from the river to irrigate nearby fields are out of use.

    Village chief Idrissa Diop says there is not enough water anymore to cultivate the millet and rice local farmers once produced.

    He says most young people are leaving the village, and that only old farmers like this man trying to turn and find some use to this dried earth are left to work.

    Many younger Senegalese from this region try their luck in other African countries further south, where desertification does not reach, or risk their lives at sea on perilous attempts to reach Europe illegally.

    Villagers here used to be able to feed themselves year-round, but now depend on financial help from relatives who have emigrated elsewhere.

    Diop says the government promised what it called a great green wall to plant trees and block the desert's rapid advance, but he says nothing of the sort has happened.

    One of the few young men who still live and work here is 25-year-old Alassane Sow.

    As he herds cattle, he listens to an old radio with a weak signal that he carries at ear level under the hot midday sun.

    He says there used to be grass everywhere, but not anymore. He says he has to walk long hours every day now for his cattle to be able to graze.

    Sow says if he could he would leave as well. But he says he does not have the means to go anywhere. He also says he would feel bad for his family, if he did go, because he says, there would be no one left to do any work for those who have no choice, but to live here.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora