Talk:Famine

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There was a lot of unnecessary repetition of facts in this article that if removed could make it less clunky, one example being topics in Ethiopia. Additionally, one section mentioned there was believed to be 18-45 million deaths in the Great Leap famine although another section lists the number as definitively 30 million (including that number in a different statistic). The society and culture section needs more information for it to be a stand-alone section and there could definitely be more found on that subject. There is also the obvious need for more updates, some sections had information from 10 years ago that has definitely changed since then.

early discussion[edit]

I would propose the following structure:

  • Definition of Famine
  • Famine in contemporary societies
    • Hotspots of Famine
    • Causes of Famine
    • Responses to Famine
  • Historical famine, by region
  • Links to infamous famines or famine-related topics
  • Links to external resources on current and historical famine

--Ilya 11:43, 20 Nov 2004 (UTC)



There has not been any significant famine in Bangladesh since the nation was formed, so I have removed that link. There have been at least two significant Bengal famines though, articles still to be written. Imc 19:29, 12 Mar 2004 (UTC)


I rather like Ilya's proposal above as it allows the general case to be described before getting into the intricacies of specific historical events. BanyanTree 18:24, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Causes of famine[edit]

I disagree with the opening to this section, many famines are caused by food shortages (often due to plant disease), made worse by administrative mismanagement. I will make adjustments if there are no complaints.--nixie 02:08, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I think the issue that needs to be made clear is that food shortages are a necessary, but insufficient, condition for a modern famine. So the explanation, "Famines are caused by lack of food" is often misleading. - BanyanTree 05:10, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I feel that you should include some solutions to the problems of the shortage of food, such as technology etc. and also not to forget that some of them are not really that effective after all, such as technology again. Does it really help to alleviate the situation of famine? Or does it really do more harm than good?

~~darthchiam~~

POV[edit]

I find it very POVd that the author chose to point out that according to a proeminent economist, no famine has ever occured in a democracy. Its POVd because its intended to make people believe that because of democracy there will be no famine, and that other regimes are more prone to the appereance of famine. This is absurd.

Famine is caused either by low production/high consumption of food or poor administration of these resources; a democratic governmetn is by no means an assurance that food resources will be well distributed. One such example comes right below, when the author comments on the Irish Potato famine, being a classic example of famine in the first world.

Later on, as examples of famine are given in the world, a noted example is those of sub-saarian Africa. Its a well know fact that people in that area suffer a great deal with very little food or drinkable water, diseases, high mortality rates and such. First world countries, however, not until recently ago, did very little to help such countires, even with surplus food that could not be stocked. Why is that? Hunger is not contagious. Grasshoppers, on the other hand, cen travel from Africa to Europe, thus destroying crops and plantations, and thus deserve attention by the 1st world europeans in an attempt to exterminate them. 200.244.240.42 15:10, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

Last comment by meLtDoc 15:13, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

I made a similar comment above a few months back, but it appears to be worth raising here. The Irish Potato Famine actually reinforces the democratic argument as the UK government (as a whole) was not beholden to the Irish electorate. Read Irish Potato Famine and look at how marginalized the Irish were politically, socially and economically. The democratic argument is basically that politicans who get their power from the popular will of the people won't let those people starve to death because it affects their jobs. They will cut back spending, take out international loans, appeal for charity, etc in order to please the voters. If the government is not beholden to the affected population, either because it is a monarchy, dictatorship, etc or the affected population is a disaffected minority, then chances are pretty good that a lot of people are going to die.
Causation is obviously hard to prove in situations this complicated, but studies have established a strong correlation between high levels of participatory democracy and low occurrence of famine. Looking at the history of famines compared to the spread of democracy, a causative link seems pretty well established. Even in the current crisis in Niger, the government has repeatedly attempted to silence local journalists and ignored demonstrations demanding immediate government action.
Also, please note that as this is a wiki, there is not one "author" as you seem to suggest. The collaborative efforts of numerous people have resulted in the article as it appears now. - BanyanTree 15:48, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

My point was exactly that; that a democraticly elected gov isnt necessarily a govt that will look for its people, thus a democracy is not necessarily a govt that will have no famine, as its implied on the text. Another example of "implicities" that occur on your comment is that If the government is not beholden to the affected population, either because it is a monarchy, dictatorship(...); With it you imply that a monarchy is a system that is not mindful of the people it governs; and extrapolating, that all govt types that are not democracies are necessarily "bad". You also mention studies that have estabilished links of democracy and lack of famine. Please indicate references, and specify which studies did this or that; Can we tell if a democratic nation has no famine because its democratic, or because of the technological advances, better farming techniques, better use of soil, better tools, soil care, use of plague and insects killers and such? And about my mention of "the author", Im well aware of the wiki spirit; but as it is often the case, the major part of a single article is written by one single person or a finite group of persons (hence the singular term), when then the numerous wikipedians collaborate with their bits of information over the "core" of the article. ~~LtDoc~~

You appear to define democracy as any government is elected, while I am drawing a distinction between the people who elect the government and people excluded from the process. Democracies certainly do any number of horrible things to people under their control, e.g. US against black slaves, British against Kenyan rebels, Australia against Aborigines, but all of these people were/are excluded from the political process. For the U.S., the slave descendants of Africans were not "its people" except in the possessive sense; the slaves were of the U.S. but the U.S. was not of the slaves, if you get what I'm saying. Politicians don't respond to those they control, they respond to those who control them. The Irish potato famine and the great Bengali famine of the 1940s both happened when the affected population did not have effective democratic representation, though under a democracy. The extent of democratic participation is vital in mitigating a natural food crisis.
The lead thinker on this is the economist Amartya Sen, who did the initial statistical analysis drawing a correlation. See this NY Times article for the proposition and some critiques. One of the main sources is in the article reference section, though any websearch of "democracy famine" will turn up reams of pages referencing and critiquing his work. People point out, working within the framework Sen has described, Bihar almost had a famine in the 1960s and some parts of India sometimes seem to be on the point of famine now, but "almost had" is not "had" and the basic argument "No democracy has had a famine" still holds. Looking at the modern famines described in the article for the past century, there are none that would be considered functioning democracies with reasonably free press.
The actual statistical work is available in the referenced work (and I assume on the net) and there have been any number of studies examining spin-off conclusions - "good governance" indicators on HIV infection rates, etc - and I've never seen one that contradicted the basic proposition. His economic studies of how income inequality interacts with famine is also useful reading.
Your question about whether the economic growth associated with democracy is primarily responsible for the decline in famine occurrence, rather than the political system itself is a good one and been asked before. If you look at countries with nearly identical per capita GDP, the primary factor indicating vulnerability to famine is political freedom.
I consider your rephrasing of my "not beholden" to "not mindful", and then to "bad", to be a red herring tangential to the actual discussion about article content and won't respond to it beyond this. - BanyanTree 20:03, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

So we both agree that democracy per se is not a guarantee that people under it will not face famine. Perhaps a better frasing the the article´s first part should make us both content.

As for the reason on why famine is not present in countries with political freedom, the fact that no study ever contraindicated the preposition that "no famine when in (representative) democracy" isnt necessarily impling that because of democracy theres no famine. Theres a big "selection bias" in this study, because in representative democracies the press has usually more space, there are better economic indicators, there are bigger personal freedoms and so on. To better exemplify my point, is like saying "no country which has won the World Cup at least three times has had vulcanic activity in the past."; even if the affirmative is true, one cannot hold that vulcanic activity has not occured because the country won 3 world cups. Did I make myself clear?

I ask that because (as you might see on my user page) Im not a native speaker of english, and every now and then might find myself in trouble trying to express some concept or idea. For the very same reason, I dont quite get what is a "red herring tangential to the actual discussion", and thus cannot comment on that. LtDoc 22:05, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

  • The issue isn't a specific form of government: it is the relation of a government to the people. The fact that some constituency is enfranchised is obviously irrelevant if the victims of the famin are not.
  • Siege conditions in wartime can create famine regardless of the nature of government.
  • That said, it is hardly a novel view to say that democracies don't have famines. It probably should not be said in the narrative voice of the article, but we should find one of the many scholars and political thinkers who claims this, and cite them as saying so. -- Jmabel | Talk 05:32, July 28, 2005 (UTC)

In that spirit, I removed the "Despotism is a know cause of famine" sentence. I thought it was estabilished that we werent going to burden the forms of govt per se as causes of famiine.LtDoc (talk) 00:31, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

discussion about merging content in[edit]

There is a discussion at Talk:Food security about merging at least some of the content of famine scales into this article. Please offer your thoughts there. - BanyanTree 13:54, 3 August 2005 (UTC)

It seems to me that Subsistence crisis is a subset of Famine (a subsistence crisis seems to just be a form of famine), hence I think Subsistence crisis should be merged under Famine. I will wait at least two weeks (post any objections on this page or my talk page) and if there are no objections I will perform the merger. Cliff12345 (talk) 22:04, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

Never mind, I've looked into the topics more carefully, there seem to be subtle differences between the two. Cliff12345 (talk) 08:53, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

Famine in India[edit]

I removed the phrase about cannibalism. To reinstate, if anyone can point to the actual reference, it would be appreciated. I have found many websites saying the same thing (exactly same phrase), so it seems to have originated from one source, but could not find a valid reference to the actual 'records'.

Most colonialists thrived on stories of imagined cannibalism to justify their conquests. See Conquest of Spain, Columbus in America. --Pranathi 19:29, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

Also removed (in your generally excellent edit) was all mention of two specific famines formerly mentioned in the article:

Why were these removed? And if this article is not the best place to handle them, can you suggest somewhere better? I would say that any famine of significant proportions merits mention somewhere in Wikipedia, and that all known famines in India should be listed together in some place. -- Jmabel | Talk 05:22, August 19, 2005 (UTC)

I thought the Ahmedabad famine was localized and realtively minor. One-third of the population perished in the 1770 one, one of the first in Bengal. That one should stay, but didn't know where to place it in the parah-type description. I haven't been able to get a listing of famines (or major famines) and maybe if there is such a listing it should go into a seperate article on Famine in India? --Pranathi 15:26, 21 August 2005 (UTC)

A separate article Famine in India would be good. I'll start it. -- Jmabel | Talk 22:55, August 21, 2005 (UTC)

Irish Potato Famine[edit]

In contrast, the Irish Potato Famine (1845-1849) was in no small part the result of policies of the Whig government of the United Kingdom under Lord Russell. Unlike a government facing revolt at home, the London-based government stood by its commitment to laissez-faire economics, even in the face of massive starvation in Ireland. How are protectionist import tariffs to be seen as laissez-faire eocnomics? Intangible 20:03, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

Those import tariffs being the Corn Laws prior to Russells occupation. Intangible 02:55, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

What are you talking about when you say infertility arose as a result of the famine and contributed to population decrease. By how much did fertility drop after the famine? How long did the fertility rates remain at their reduced rates? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 211.42.208.224 (talk) 01:38, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

This section needs a lot more references to back up the statements made (Jeoknowhat (talk) 11:12, 2 July 2010 (UTC)) Yes, there should be a source cited for the assertion that in previous famines the British had banned exports so Irish could be fed. I came across at least one Irish historian who said that if the food had stayed in Ireland during the famine,it wouldn't have been distributed to people who couldn't pay for it.

At the very least it needs to be fully referenced, and preferably re-written. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 109.145.183.72 (talk) 20:28, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

16th century[edit]

Famine had been relatively rare during the sixteenth century. The economy and population had grown steadily as subsistence populations tend to when there is an extended period of relative peace (most of the time). How on earth can the 16th century be described as a period of relative peace? Please read Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, Philip II of Spain, Italian Wars, Peasants' War, Counter-Reformation, Anglo-Spanish War (1585), French Wars of Religion, Eighty Years' War, ... Were the major powers ever at peace during this century? Piet 12:07, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

Great Leap Forward Famine[edit]

This article needs the attention of somebody familiar with Chinese history. The communal dining halls, as per my understanding, played only a small role in the Great Leap's failure and there was poor weather according to almost all Sinologists except Jasper Becker (Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, who also claim that there was no poor weather, cite Becker as well). See Three Years of Natural Disasters for more on the poor weather. Also, the agricultural policies were not reversed in 1978, they were reversed in 1960 - 1961. --219.77.177.93 16:14, 27 June 2006 (UTC)


Phillippines[edit]

There's a famine right now over there, why not list that one? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 69.154.161.38 (talkcontribs) 17 September 2006.

-Are there any sources for this? Béka 17:17, 18 September 2006 (UTC)


The Great Famine of 1315-1317[edit]

"The Great Famine of 1315-1317 (or to 1322) was the first crisis that would strike Europe in the 14th century, millions in northern Europe would die over an extended number of years..."

Does anyone else find this sentance poor? The subject is famine not politics of Europe in the 14th century and it says that the famine killed people over a 'number of years'. If it is 1315-1317 then the number is 3 but whenever the famine ended the second half of the sentance sounds wrong to me.

Further on it says "Nonetheless, they [peasants] generally tried to work as little as possible, valuing their time to do other things, such as hunting, fishing or relaxing, as long as they had enough food to feed their families". Surely this is a statement of the obvious.

"Farmers, people who rented land in order to make a profit off of the product of the land, employing wage labour, became increasingly common, particularly in western Europe" This implies that a farmer is someone who rents land in order to make a profit. It might just be bad punctuation but surely farmers are people who farm land, the work does not mean that the land is rented.

"They produced guaranteed surpluses of their crop every year if they could" guaranteed or not?

ETC.. Basically I dispute that this article maintains the high standards required by "Wikipedia CD Selection Famine is either included in the Wikipedia CD Selection or is a candidate for inclusion in the next version (the project page is at WPCD Selection). Please maintain high quality standards, and if possible stick to GFDL images."

Mtpaley 23:13, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

Removed material[edit]

The following was removed by Merzbow as uncited POV material (after the statement about Bihar). It is true that it has no explicit citation. The same can be said of most of the article. As for POV, though, the only parts of this that strike me as POV are the few that I have bolded. What else here is in POV?:

It is the closest independent India came to a famine. The increase in food to the population is also reflected in the fact that in the 50 years of British rule (1891 to 1941) the population grew by 35% (from 287 million to 389 million) whereas in the 50 years of democratic rule from 1951 to 2001 the population grew by 183% (from 363 million to 1,023 million). The fact that there have been no famines even with a population that has almost tripled makes it an even more impressive achievement for the democratic government.

- Jmabel | Talk 23:09, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

The paragraph is stating that an 'increase in food' is responsible for the higher growth rate of Indian population after British rule. I would submit there could be many other factors just as important, such as medical technology. That claim needs a cite. - Merzbow 01:53, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

Hmm. Would you have any problem with:

It is the closest independent India came to a famine, despite having a far larger and far more rapidly growing population to feed than in the years of colonial rule. In 50 years of British rule (1891 to 1941) the population grew by 35% (from 287 million to 389 million) whereas in 50 years of democratic rule from 1951 to 2001 the population nearly tripled, growing by 183% (from 363 million to 1,023 million).

- Jmabel | Talk 21:42, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

The first sentence is the problem - it is not stating facts, it is analyzing and judging facts. That analysis needs to be sourced to somebody qualified to make such an analysis. - Merzbow 01:12, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
For now, I would just include the facts in the last sentence in the article (although it would be nice if they were sourced also) and readers can draw their own conclusions. If we then find a historian who wants to analyze the facts in more detail, it can be added later. - Merzbow 05:01, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

"Noting that most famines occur under dictatorship, colonial rule or during war, Amartya Sen has posited that no functioning democracy has suffered a famine in modern times." Althought I do not know the rest of the work of this author, I don´t think this position is apropriate to be in a encyclopedia, since it is senseless. In many third-world countries misery colives with democracy. Famine situations still occur in Brazil´s northeast. One of the worst famines of Brazilian history happened in 1915, 26 years after the end of Monarchy.

Please note the tiny little world: functioning democracy. "No monarchy" does not always mean this. Many third world countries are officially democracies, but in reality not functioning ones. And was there really a famine in Brazil 1915? Do you have any sources for this? I have heard of a famine in 1877/78, and of course there was and still is chronic hunger in the nordeste. Amartya Sen admits that the chronic hunger of poor people can exist even in a functioning democracy. Béka 18:42, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

about picture titled ottoman official teases armenian children by showing bread. first of all all the population in eastern anatolia starved (turks, circassians, armenians etc.) because of ongoing war and civil war, it wasn't a selective famine. food transportation could not be possible, there wasn't railroads in region etc. according to ottoman records, 500000 turks who survived attacks of armenian armed bands migrated from east anatolia to central anatolia, even after these people placed in state buildings and mosques, death due to starvation continued among them (source: The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide, Guenter lewy). so famine didn't caused by state policy, but because of war conditions on top of poor infrastructure. besides the man in the picture has no fez on his head, ottoman officials at the time wore fezs. while his outfit seems finer and sharper than ordinary ottoman officials' (especially under those conditions) not wearing fez creates questions about wheter or not picture is genuine. besides that claims about famine in ukraine during soviet times tied to racial issues against ukrainians in the article. both russians and ukrainians are slavs, coming from same "race" (validity of race concept is another issue, nevertheless they generally accepted as same race) so it's absurd to think famine in ukraine caused for racial agendas of russians. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 176.41.56.176 (talk) 22:28, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

The sources says Turk official, not Ottoman official, and so I have corrected that. Brimba (talk) 01:27, 22 December 2012 (UTC)

Ethiopian Famine[edit]

Correct me if I am wrong but there is still a famine in Ethopia, this page refers to it in the past tense and like it has been resolved. 212.42.190.101 15:07, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

Of course, the chronic problems of Ethiopia – that caused the famine – have largely not been resolved since the last great "famine"; even in "good" years, many people depend on food aid because they are poor. But the contemporary hunger problem in Ethiopia is rather seen as chronic poverty than as a real "famine". Béka 20:58, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

Niger and the Sahel[edit]

I have added stuff on famins in Niger and the Sahel and 2 photos.--82.18.204.15 (talk) 02:33, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

Perspective needed[edit]

this article badly needs worldwide perspective of PRESENT conditions cumulatively over all regions. and comparison with historical conditions worldwide. it reads like a one dimensional high school paper country by country but gives the reader very little on the big picture. also much more is needed on the associative factors such as of growth stunting of children, etc. the article reads like katie couric reads the evening news: disaster all around and the reader keeps smiling. most readers of the present article will have no idea how widespread present famines are and the number of people affected. Anlace 03:57, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Borgen project[edit]

This edit removed the views of the Borgen Project, and also removed the Borgen Project from the external links, describing it as "POV". Obviously, on controversial matters, the views of any advocacy group represent that group's POV, but our NPOV standard does not mean that we don't report them: instead, we should be searching for other views, and all views should be attributed. The Borgen Project is by no means unique in considering famine a solvable problem (Food First, among others, certainly shares this opinion), so this was by no means a marginal view. I think this should be reverted, possibly reworded, and that various other views on whether famine is or is not currently solvable worldwide should be added. - Jmabel | Talk 17:27, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Resumen: Famine is a situation that occurs when a country or geopraphi zone does not have sufficientfoods and recourses to provide foods to o the population, being elevated the rate of mortality due to the hunger and to the undernourishments.

Material more relevant to Famine than Overpopulation[edit]

A 2003 article from the FAO website says, "According to the report, several countries in Central and West Africa have seen their numbers of hungry people rise due to conflict." [1] According to the BBC, during the late 20th century, Zimbabwe had been growing enough food to feed itself, and was known as "the breadbasket of southern Africa." However, in the early 21st century, President Robert Mugabe seized the farmland from the farmers, and kicked the farmers out of the country. This created a famine. [2] North Korea also had a worsening food situation in the early 21st century, and this has been blamed on the country's bad economic policies. [3] Mexico's worsening food situation has been blamed on the U.S. government, which purchases large quantities of corn to make ethanol. This drives up the price of corn, which is the main food staple in Mexico. [4]

The above text I personally find to be misleading, but i dont like to delete sourced material, so Ive moved it to this article's talk page for consideration here. Sekolov 18:58, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

In case anyone is interested, I came across this article [5] last December, showing that mixed prairie grasses were better than corn for biofuel. Brian Pearson 02:20, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

aluminum-tolerance gene in sorghum[edit]

"This research also has environmental implications for badly needed increases in food production on marginal soils in developing countries," said Kochian. "For example, if we can increase food production on existing lands, it could limit encroachment into other areas for agriculture." [6] Brian Pearson 02:09, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

Murky, uncited paragraph in article[edit]

Kerry Britton, PhD, of the US Forest Service, in a recent phone interview, said that there is belief that China has less kudzu than America because of this famine. Kudzu originated in China and would seem to, but doesn't cover more ground there as a super plant than in other countries with only around 130 years of habitat in the US. It may be that kudzu is a survival food during famine. If that is the case, people who did survive may have survived with the help of kudzu.

  • "in a recent phone interview" is no citation to speak of
  • "recent" as of when?
  • "said that there is belief": by whom? Is he/she even endorsing that believe
  • "would seem to, but doesn't cover more ground there as a super plant than in other countries with only around 130 years of habitat in the US" makes little sense

And ultimately this says almost nothing of encyclopedic significance.

I suggest deleting the paragraph, unless someone who knows more about this can turn it into something rather different. - Jmabel | Talk 23:52, 15 October 2007 (UTC)

"Widely believed"[edit]

From the article: "…the tens of millions of pounds raised by Band Aid and Live Aid are widely believed to have saved the lives of…"

"…are widely believed…" is a pretty far short of a citation. - Jmabel | Talk 23:54, 15 October 2007 (UTC)

need a seperate article on world food crises 2008[edit]

The 2008 food shortage is now widespread and we still dont have a wiki article. manchurian candidate 04:09, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

See 2007-2008 world food price crisis. - BanyanTree 05:23, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

Hongerwinter[edit]

This article claims 30,000 died, but the Hongerwinter article itself gives the (referenced) figure of 18,000. Big discrepancy - which is correct? Draggleduck (talk) 12:38, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

Proposed deletion of newly created famine category[edit]

If anyone is interested in contributing to the discussions on a new category relating to Famines:

£20,000[edit]

Yeah, I know, it's about the contents of the article, but -- £20,000 ?? Is that all the money they were able to collect for the latest Nigerian famine, with millions of people affected? A decent middle manager of a Western country earns more than that IN A MONTH. 152.66.235.13 (talk) 16:38, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

Photos[edit]

I've restored the position of a few days ago. As I said in the edit summary this is an article about Famine, not about Gandhi. The same change was made (and reversed) on the Indian Famine article. That said I think the article would be better with some more pictures and only one in the lede. Ideas? --Snowded TALK 07:20, 17 October 2010 (UTC)

Just one in the lead is a good idea. Other major sections should have their respective pictures. Zuggernaut (talk) 00:11, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

New infobox template for famines[edit]

I've created a new infobox template that can potentially be used in every famine article on Wikipedia. For a list of articles where it can be used, see the categories famines in India, famines and other relevant categories. The usage documentation still needs some improvement and the template might undergo minor teaks further - all feedback/suggestions for improvement are welcome! Feel free to link to or re-post this message in relevant places. Zuggernaut (talk) 17:20, 31 October 2010 (UTC)

Worldwide famine of 2011[edit]

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/09/us-asia-rice-idUSTRE7186NU20110209

Should we add this in yet or let it simmer a few more months? Hcobb (talk) 22:03, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

That article seems to have little to do with famine, and certainly not a "worldwide famine." Global price increases, and governments stocking up on rice do not seem all that abnormal, nor a definite precursor to famine. Please see, WP:CRYSTAL. Peregrine981 (talk) 22:49, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

Rename suggestion[edit]

There's a major difference in people's minds between "famine" and "food shortages." Famine has usually been associated with wars and natural disasters where there is a "major" inability to feed people for basic survival, and mass starvation is the result. But "Food shortages" are different in that the term can relate to a family, village, city, or an entire country. Food price rises cause shortages first among those with less income. "Food shortages" also imply a problem that has possible solutions, like better irrigation. But to use the term "famine" as a redirect from "food shortages," as it does now, is a bad idea, IMO. They are two separate topics, even if related, and "food shortages" would be a better title for this article. --Wikiwatcher1 (talk) 03:42, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

I agree. There is a major difference, and if food shortages is redirecting here, we should separate. Peregrine981 (talk) 10:48, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Cash aid/vouchers -- not substantiated[edit]

I question this sentence The famine relief model increasingly used by aid groups calls for giving cash or cash vouchers to the hungry to pay local farmers instead of buying food from donor countries, often required by law, as it wastes money on transport costs.[3][4]

One of the citations makes only passing reference to cash grants in an article that focuses on general funding for famine relief, the other describes a pilot program. There's no evidence that this model is increasingly used by aid groups. I'm not saying there shouldn't be reference to this model, but that it is mischaracterized and given undue prominence -- in particular because other mechanisms of food distribution are not described. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Iris8888 (talkcontribs) 03:33, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

Whoever put in the numerous references to cash grants is right in that they are a good/increasingly popular form of aid - but the number of references to this point in an article that is primarily about historical famines creates a scattered article/one with an agenda. 131.111.184.95 (talk) 23:14, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

sub-section on treating famine with dehydration (usu. diarrhea)?[edit]

This is potentially more of an issue because people often are in a weakened state, often with less than fully sanitary conditions. And plus, we have some pretty good sources on the subject.


THE TREATMENT OF DIARRHOEA, A manual for physicians and other senior health workers World Health Organization, 2005

8. MANAGEMENT OF DIARRHOEA WITH SEVERE MALNUTRITION [section on pages 22-24 (pages 26-28 in PDF)]

8.1 Assessment for dehydration

“ . . . A severely malnourished child with signs suggesting severe dehydration but without a history of watery diarrhoea should be treated for septic shock. . . ”

8.2 Management of dehydration

“ . . . IV infusion easily causes over-hydration and heart failure; it should be used only for the treatment of shock. . . ”

“ . . . Oral rehydration should be done slowly, giving 70-100 ml/kg over 12 hours. . . ”

These modified solutions provide less sodium (37.5 mmol/l), more potassium (40 mmol/l) and added sugar (25g/l), each of which is appropriate for severely malnourished children with diarrhoea."

8.3 Feeding “Mothers should remain with their children to breastfeed them and to help with other feeding, which should begin as soon as possible, usually within 2-3 hours of starting rehydration. Food should be given every 2-3 hours, day and night.”

8.3.1 Initial diet "The initial diet should be given from admission until the child's appetite returns to normal. Some children will eat normally at admission, but many will recover their appetite only after 3-4 days, when infections have been treated. The diet contains 75 Kcal/100 ml and is composed as follows: • skimmed milk powder 25 g • vegetable oil 20 g • sugar 60 g • rice powder (or other cereal powder) 60 g, and • water to make 1000 ml Combine the ingredients and boil gently for five minutes to cook the cereal powder. . . ”

8.3.2 Subsequent diet . . .

8.3.3 Vitamins, minerals and salts “ . . . Zn acetate.2H20 130 mg . . . ” [That is, zinc, as well as other minerals and vitamins.] “ . . . Vitamin A should be given as described in section 9.3. Multivitamin mixtures that provide at least two RDAs of all vitamins . . . ”

8.4 Use of antimicrobialsAll severely malnourished children should receive broad spectrum antimicrobial treatment, e.g. gentamicin and ampicillin, for several days when admitted to hospital. This combination or another that provides broad spectrum coverage should also be given to any child with signs of septic shock. Children should be checked daily for other infections and treated when these are identified.”

Basically, I take as the most important thing, keep feeding the child or adult even with diarrhea. As well as the oral rehydration solution, the zinc supplements, the antibiotics generally across the board, as well as specifically checking for shock. Or, please, jump in, help me summarize this. This chapter is about two pages, it's difficult, but it's more readable than I thought it would be. Cool Nerd (talk) 19:12, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

National Guidelines for the Management of Severely Malnourished Children in Bangladesh, Institute of Public Health Nutrition, Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, May 2008.

Step 3. Treat/prevent dehydration, page 21 (22 in PDF)
a) Diagnosis
“ . . . Dehydration may be over estimated in a marasmic/wasted child and underestimated in a kwashiorkor/oedematous child. Therefore, assume that children with watery diarrhoea may have dehydration.”
b) Treatment:
“The standard oral rehydration salts (ORS) solution (90 mmol sodium/L) and the newly modified WHO-ORS (75 mmol sodium/L) contains too much sodium and too little potassium for severely malnourished children. Instead give special Rehydration Solution for Malnutrition (ReSoMal) (For recipe see Annex 2). . . ”

page 22 (23 in PDF) “If diarrhoea is severe then new WHO-ORS (75 mmol sodium/L) may be used because the loss of sodium in the stool is high and symptomatic hyponatraemia can occur with ReSoMal.
“Low blood volume can coexist with oedema. Do not use the IV route for rehydration except in cases of shock and then do so with care, infusing slowly to avoid flooding the circulation and overloading the heart (see Section 7).”

Step 5. Treat/prevent infection

page 24 (25 in PDF)
“ . . . In severe acute malnutrition the usual signs of infection, such as fever, are often absent, and infections are often hidden. Therefore routinely treat all severely malnourished children on admission with broad-spectrum antibiotics. . . ”


Community Health Worker Training Materials for Cholera Prevention and Control, CDC. (page 7) " . . . Continue to breastfeed your baby if the baby has watery diarrhea, even when traveling to get treatment. Adults and older children should continue to eat frequently."

or, add to existing section?[edit]

Our section Famine relief currently has this sentence:

"Additionally, supplements, such as Vitamin A capsules or Zinc tablets to cure diarrhea in children, are used."Can one pill tame the illness no one wants to talk about?, Newsweek, 2009-08-17.

Yes, but there's a lot more to it than that. There's all of the above. Cool Nerd (talk) 18:56, 2 September 2011 (UTC)
I made some additions. Please tell me what you think. Or, time permitting, please jump in and help. Summarizing the above sources is a lot of work, but it is doable. Cool Nerd (talk) 21:12, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

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probably worth including Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET)[edit]

http://www.fews.net/ml/en/info/Pages/default.aspx?l=en

"The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) is a USAID-funded activity that collaborates with international, regional and national partners to provide timely and rigorous early warning and vulnerability information on emerging and evolving food security issues. FEWS NET professionals in the Africa, Central America, Haiti, Afghanistan and the United States monitor and analyze relevant data and information in terms of its impacts on livelihoods and markets to identify potential threats to food security. . . "

In our Characteristics section, we do include a mention: "In July 2005, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network labelled Niger with emergency status, as well as Chad, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia and Zimbabwe."
I think it probably would be worthwhile including a couple of sentences about the organization, perhaps elsewhere in our article. Cool Nerd (talk) 17:22, 20 October 2012 (UTC)

about picture titled ottoman official teases armenian children by showing bread. first of all all the population in eastern anatolia starved (turks, circassians, armenians etc.) because of ongoing war and civil war, it wasn't a selective famine. food transportation could not be possible, there wasn't railroads in region etc. according to ottoman records, 500000 turks who survived attacks of armenian armed bands migrated from east anatolia to central anatolia, even after these people placed in state buildings and mosques, death due to starvation continued among them (source: The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide, Guenter lewy). so famine didn't caused by state policy, but because of war conditions on top of poor infrastructure. besides the man in the picture has no fez on his head, ottoman officials at the time wore fezs. while his outfit seems finer and sharper than ordinary ottoman officials' (especially under those conditions) not wearing fez creates questions about wheter or not picture is genuine. besides that claims about famine in ukraine during soviet times tied to racial issues against ukrainians in the article. both russians and ukrainians are slavs, coming from same "race" (validity of race concept is another issue, nevertheless they generally accepted as same race) so it's absurd to think famine in ukraine caused for racial agendas of russians.— Preceding unsigned comment added by 176.41.56.176 (talkcontribs)

Copyright problem removed[edit]

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Getting quite long...[edit]

I was reading through this today and found it's quite long, was wondering if there would be any community support for the idea of putting the detailed regional history into article called "History of Famines" or such? I don't find the detailed listing in this article adding that much value over the "List of Famines" article. Would love to hear community opinion before taking any action. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Zzeenn (talkcontribs) 12:30, 30 May 2016 (UTC)

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Encyclopedic[edit]

User:Kind_Tennis_Fan If it's not encyclopedic, reword it, but don't just delete it. Benjamin (talk) 02:09, 16 May 2017 (UTC)

Hi, I have restored the sourced sentence that you placed into the article. I'm working at the moment on improving the article and indeed including some of the content by an IP editor that was (temporarily) removed until it can be reworded. Kind Tennis Fan (talk) 02:13, 16 May 2017 (UTC)

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