The Astrium-supplied satellite equipment and airtime is helping humanitarian workers in the tumultuous Sahel region to share vital information as they manage the very critical humanitarian situation in this area. Communications links are severely disrupted in northern Mali, where land lines and mobile networks have been cut off in several towns.
Researchers at Senegal’s Centre for Ecological Monitoring (Centre de Suivi Ecologique, CSE), in Dakar, and the Inter-Islamic Network on Space Sciences and Technology (ISNET), based in Karachi, Pakistan,will work together on space technology applications to improve food security in Senegal, one of the most food crisis-affected countries in the Sahel region.
Below-average rains began in late 2011 and resulted in drought conditions across the Sahel early in 2012. Based on poor vegetation growth, higher food prices, poor crop yields, and regional violence, there are predictions of widespread food insecurity throughout the region - with a particular focus on Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chad. In areas where food insecurity and malnutrition are already chronic, there are predictions that food insecurity will grow as populations try to cope with the continuing drought conditions. The UN estimates over 15 million people are at risk.
The AGRHYMET Regional Centre was established in 1974 as a specialized institute of the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) composed of nine member States (Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chad, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal). It is an interstate public institute with a legal status and financial autonomy. It has an international status and is based in Niamey, Niger.