Upper Volta, 1973 - Carcasses of Mali nomads' cattle lie on the edge of Christine Wells in northern Upper Volta. The animals died after drinking water on empty stomachs following their long trek from Mali in search of food and water.
Five years of subnormal rainfall has brought severe drought and tragedy to Upper Volta, one of the six affected countries of the Sahelian Zone along the southern edge of the Sahara - a region in which there is increasing human suffering and loss of cattle. The five other affected countries of the Sahel are Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Mali and Chad. The UN Secretary-General designated FAO as the focal point for coordinating emergency relief operations mounted by the UN system. A major part of the relief has been emergency food aid provided by the UN/FAO World Food Programme. During the first eight months of 1973, WFP allocated more than 57,000 metric tons of food (chiefly grains) to the six countries in peril - at a total cost to WFP of some $9 million.