Q: To what extent were human factors responsible for a recent named famine? Ethiopian Famine
By: Myra Boentaran
Ethiopia is a country located in the Horn of Africa (a peninsula in Northeast Africa) and is bordered by Eritrea to the north and northeast, Djibouti and Somalia to the east, Sudan and South Sudan to the west and Kenya to the south. Ethiopia has a population of 87.9 million and is the second most populated nation on the African continent. 84% of the population lives in rural areas and over half of the population lives on less than US$1 a day. It has a varied landscape including cool highlands, temperate lowlands and hot deserts. 80% of the population relies on agriculture for their livelihood. The climate in Ethiopia is tropical monsoon with season rainfall. Moreover, Ethiopia has a HDI of 0.37 (world rank: 214/228) while the percentage of children below 5 who are underweight is 38.4% (world rank: 13/178).
A widespread famine affected the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia from 1983-1985. This was the worst famine to hit the country in a century causing over 400,000 deaths. However, the actions of human caused the famine to come earlier, strike harder and extend further than it should have been.
Besides the famine that occurred between 1983-1985, Ethiopia has suffered from several famines, which is due to political, economic and environmental reasons. The most common reason for famine is drought, and parts of Ethiopia have unpredictable rainfall, which can go very low leading to droughts. However, these droughts occur frequently but don’t always lead to famine. Weather is only one of the many factors causing famine. Another factor contributing to hunger is the agricultural system. In Ethiopia, individuals do not own their own personal land. It is assigned according to the size of a family and is redistributed every few years. Every time land is redistributed it is divided between more people. As a result,...
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