Famine Essay

Topics: Famine, Malnutrition, Poverty Pages: 5 (1441 words) Published: June 21, 2011
Famine can be defined as a temporary failure of food production or distribution systems in a particular region that leads to increased mortality due to starvation and diseases that result from lack of food. Famine is a very serious crisis that must be solved because famine leads to many hunger-related deaths worldwide. “In 1996 about 849 million people lived in famine, about 35,000 people die each day. A majority were children”. (Clark 148) Facts about famine. “In the Asian, African and Latin American countries, well over 500 million people are living in what the World Bank has called "absolute poverty". Every year 15 million children die of hunger. For the price of one missile, a school full of hungry children could eat lunch every day for 5 years .Throughout the 1990's more than 100 million children will die from illness and starvation. Those 100 million deaths could be prevented for the price of ten Stealth bombers, or what the world spends on its military in two days! The World Health Organization estimates that one-third of the world is well-fed, one-third is under-fed one-third is starving- Since you've entered this site at least 200 people have died of starvation. Over 4 million will die this year. One in twelve people worldwide is malnourished, including 160 million children under the age of 5. The Indian subcontinent has nearly half the world's hungry people. Africa and the rest of Asia together have approximately 40%, and the remaining hungry people are found in Latin America and other parts of the world. Nearly one in four people, 1.3 billion - a majority of humanity - live on less than $1 per day, while the world's 358 billionaires have assets exceeding the combined annual incomes of countries with 45 percent of the world's people. 3 billion people in the world today struggle to survive on US$2/day. In 1994 the Urban Institute in Washington DC estimated that one out of 6 elderly people in the U.S. have an inadequate diet. In the U.S. hunger and race is related. In 1991 46% of African-American children were chronically hungry, and 40% of Latino children were chronically hungry compared to 16% of white children. The infant mortality rate is closely linked to inadequate nutrition among pregnant women. The U.S. ranks 23rd among industrial nations in infant mortality. African-American infants die at nearly twice the rate of white infants. One out of every eight children under the age of twelve in the U.S. goes to bed hungry every night. Half of all children under five years of age in South Asia and one third of those in sub-Saharan Africa are malnourished. In 1997 alone, the lives of at least 300,000 young children were saved by vitamin A supplementation programs in developing countries. Malnutrition is implicated in more than half of all child deaths worldwide - a proportion unmatched by any infectious disease since the Black Death”. (Sachs 24)
Child affected by malnutrition 1921-1923 Famine in Soviet Russia

Causes of Famine The immediate causes of famine are inadequate food production or market availability, price fluctuations, and limited household assets. Underlying causes, however, almost always involve misguided or deliberate public policy, repressive political systems, or natural or human-caused disaster. “In countries with preexisting widespread poverty, unemployment, or debt, natural and human-caused disasters are the most common causes of food shortages and famine. Additionally, hunger has been often used as a deliberate weapon. Access to food is such a basic human need that control of the food supply translates into direct political and economic power. Over and over again in history, specific populations have been the victims of an interruption...
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