In 1984 and 1985 this part of Africa underwent a drought of catastrophic magnitude, never known before. War was on in several regions, in Chad, in Ethiopia, and, because of the drought or using this natural phenomenon, war amplified the exodus and pushed the populations out of the villages in which they could have hoped to survive.
Sebastião Salgado stayed several months there to photograph the catastrophe in Mali, Chad, Ethiopia, Sudan and Erythrea. He mainly worked with the teams of Médecins sans Frontières (French Doctors without Borders). The images were seen throughout the world, published by the international press.

The book Sahel, l’homme en détresse, published by Prisma Press in 1986, was sold to the profit of MSF in France. In 1988 another book, Sahel-El fin del camino, was published by Comunidad de Madrid, and sold to the benefit of Spanish MSF. Another book was published in 2004 by University of California Press in the USA, Sahel, The End of the Road.

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