Talk:List of famines

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Politically significance[edit]

We need a list of historically significant famines. Especially, those brought about purposely by Communist governments. Or which occurred as a consequence of Communist policies like collective farms. The USSR and China killed more people this way than by anything in the List of massacres. --Uncle Ed 15:34, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

That goal does not sound very NPOV, but a well-rounded list is quite informative. -- Beland 06:39, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

Statistics request[edit]

This list would be even better if it had statistics on number of people affected or killed. I have made other such lists into sortable tables, which allows readers to rank the list by different columns, dynamically. -- Beland 06:39, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

List of natural disasters by death toll has a start. -- Beland 06:45, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

Famine of 1866-1868; Not Finnish but Swedish/Finnish[edit]

This catastrophe was not unique for Finland. It also occurred in Sweden. As a matter of fact currently the Swedish version of that page only mentions the situation in Sweden. It seems to me that a page must have more or less the same subject regardless in what language it's written. Also, since due to close geographical proximity this natural catastrophe did largely occur in parallel in both Finland and Sweden, it would make sense to change the subject somewhat and write about the situation in both Finland and Sweden in the same article. --Smallchanges 14:54, 20 July 2007 (UTC)--

Iran famine of 1919[edit]

I didn't even know Iran had experienced a famine of such proportions but here is an article I just read about it. It seems that almost half the population back then died (vs the 1/4 ratio stated on this wiki article)

As many as eight to ten million Persians perished because of starvation and disease during the famine of 1917-1919, making it the greatest calamity in Persia's history. In this book, Mohammad Gholi Majd argues that Persia was the greatest victim of World War One and also the victim of possibly the worst genocide of the twentieth century. Using U.S. State Department records, as well as Persian and British sources, Majd describes and documents a veritable holocaust about which practically nothing has been written. It is the first book in Majd's World War I trilogy.


The Great Famine and Genocide in Persia, 1917-1919

Author: Mohammad Gholi Majd Paperback: 162 pages Publisher: University Press Of America (August 2003) Language: English ISBN-10: 0761826335 order from amazon


One of the little known calamities of World War One Review by Kiwi

One of the little known calamities of World War One, and one which I only strayed across account of fairly recently, where I read a mention of between 9 to 11 million Persians (approximately half the then population of Persia) dying, was the widespread famine that hit Persia (Iran) at the end of World War One. Apart from the odd mention in other books and articles, the only significant study of this event is this book by Mohammad Gholi Majd.

Before looking at the book, a brief history lesson is probably in order: The history of the Middle East in the First World War is extremely complex. What can be described as the first phase, from November 1914 lasting until the end of 1915, marks a period in which Britain, Russia and Turkey violated Persia's proclaimed neutrality. In short, Britain, France and Russia made a pact for a new division of Middle Eastern properties, and the Persians, with the aid of Germany and Turkey, made a valiant attempt to drive out these foreign forces.

The second phase was from the beginning of 1916 until March 1917. During this time, the British and the Russians again invaded Persia, and successfully drove out the Turks and defeated the Persian Army. The British were driven in this by the perceived threat to India, then a major component of the British Empire. With the advent of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, the Middle East was partitioned into British, French and Russian spheres of influence. Britain extended her control over the rest of the southern and eastern regions, and eventually captured Baghdad in March 1917. At this time, the war began to extract a toll on civilians. Widespread famine began to devastate the local populations in Persia in early 1917. Local crops withered and the import of foodstuffs from India, Mesopotamia and the United States became nonexistent, due to the use of the local transportation means for war supplies by both sides.

In addition, the Allies refused to pay for local oil, which greatly aggravated the conditions brought on by the drought and famine. Between 1917 and 1919, it is estimated that nearly one-half (9 to 11 million people) of the Persian population died of starvation or disease brought on by malnutrition. Those men fit enough to fight, took up active resistance against the British, who now controlled most of the region. This is all more or less verifiable history, although little known today.

In this book, Mohammad Gholi Majd argues that Persia was the greatest victim of World War One and also the victim of possibly the worst genocide of the twentieth century. The author based his research on the great famine in Iran on documents and reports of the US State Department archives as well as from news and information taken from newspapers printed in those years, especially the Ra'd and Iran newspapers in Persia. Majd quotes the American Charge d'Affaires in Tehran at the time, William Smith Murray, having claimed that a third of Persia's population died from a combination of famine and disease. He also used as sources the memoirs of the British officers and commanders who were present in Persia (Iran) during the World War I. The book reflects on the direct role that the interventionist British and Russian forces played in the famine and subsequent mortality in Iran during the World War I.

In large, Majd blames the British who, after the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, were the controlling power in Persia. Local transportation was taken over by the British for the transport of war materials, isolating farmers from their customers inside Persia. At the same time, Majd claims that significant amounts of food were confiscated by the British to supply British troops both within Persia and in the region.

Majd's conclusion is that, unknown to most, one of THE major genocides of the twentieth century occured in Persia during and immediately after WW1. In general, one can believe the approximate accuracy of his sources - there was a major famine and millions died - whether it was one third or one half of Persia's population is purely an academic argument - deaths were literally in the millions and the impact on Persia was enormous. However, "genocide" assumes the deliberate and wilfull killing of large numbers of non-combatants. That the British would deliberately undertake this is not believable and in this, Majd's argument is not credible, it's more of an emotional response. Which is understandable - picture in your mind if a third to a half of the US population had died off in WW1 from famine which was made worse by a foreign occupation under the same basis as happened in Persia. What would your reaction be?

What is believable is that this happened, albiet not deliberately induced by the British. After all, much the same thing happened in India during WW2, were a major famine resulted in millions dying, whilst all the effort of the Indian Govt went into fighting WW2 rather than alleviating the famine. Again, not genocide, just a focus of effort on the war and the ignoring of the fate of millions of civilians who were at best, irrelvant to the war effort.

Overall, a good study of this little known piece of history but the conclusion that this was a genocidal campaign by the British is sadly erroneous. As with many of the author's other books, an interesting and historically needed study is marred by an emotional approach and conclusion which really don't gel with the actual facts. It wasn't genocide, it was simply that the British focus was on the war and all else, including the fate of Persian peasants, was secondary. However, it's still a sad state of affairs when the deaths of millions of people is no longer remembered outside of the country where these deaths occurred, if in fact they were ever really known outside of Persia.

The author, Dr. Mohammad Gholi Majd, has a Ph.D from Cornell University, lives in the United States and has written a number of books and articles on Iraq and Iran. Some of these include: — Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.84.68.252 (talk) 05:47, 27 October 2012 (UTC)

Wow. This does not have an article yet? One must be made for such a major event. Beejsterb (talk) 00:06, 9 June 2016 (UTC)

Famines before Christ[edit]

It is hard to believe there was just one documented famine B.C. in Ancient Rome in 441 BC as we have now. There must be documentation about many more famines before Christ. werldwayd (talk) 06:31, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

a long famine[edit]

400–800 AD that famine lasted 400 years! to be clarified.--Io Herodotus (talk) 15:08, 1 October 2013 (UTC)

WWI[edit]

File:Hunger Map of Europe- The New York Times Current History-May 1919.png shows famine conditions on December 1, 1918 (just after the World War I armistice) stretching from northern Russia to the Balkans. I think the current chart is missing a lot of this. -- Beland (talk) 23:44, 7 October 2013 (UTC)

Egypt[edit]

1064–1072 Seven years' famine in Egypt 1064=>1072 seems to be more than 7 years.--Io Herodotus (talk) 13:55, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

2014[edit]

Nearly 4 million people facing 'dangerous levels' of hunger in South Sudan, especially Eastern Equatoria, according to the UN (Barnabas Fund)- do we wait for the mainstream media to pick up on this or update now?

Famines in Ancient Egypt[edit]

There are famines records in Ancient Egypt.The first in 3500 B.C. and another famine during the reign of Djeser. Are these records reliable?Rolandi+ (talk) 10:52, 16 July 2015 (UTC)

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United States Famine of 1929-1933[edit]

There is no source for this, no link, no support. At a minimum there should be something.

The CDC publishes annually a report on births and deaths in the US, and this would be a good source. Let's look:

Death rate per 1,000 people in United States: 1923-12.1 1924-11.6 1925-11.7 1926-12.1 1927-11.3 1928-12.0 1929-11.9 1930-11.3 1931-11.1 1932-10.9 1933-10.7 1934-11.1 1935-10.9

Does anyone see a change in death rates for 1929-1933 other than the fact that they were lower in 1929-1933 than in 1923-1928? Candlelight0115 (talk) 03:07, 16 January 2016 (UTC)[1] pages 123-124


To be more explicit. The same CDC document I listed also reports on pages 222 and 229 the total deaths from all causes in the US by year:

1929-1,187,800; 1930-1,132,100; 1931-1,106,500; 1932-1,087,700; 1933-1,068,700 or a total of 5,582,800. Not only did the claimed famine kill more than a million more people than actually died in the US in 1929-1933, it did so based on the assumption that not one person died from 1929-1933 due to any caused except famine.

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Uh... dust bowl[edit]

Does the dust bowl in 1930s United States not qualify as a major famine? 4.59.13.106 (talk) 21:33, 15 November 2016 (UTC)

Propose linking to other language wiki's[edit]

In the spirit of international cooperation, I'd like to propose that, when talking about events in countries with their own wikipedia, we try to link rather then to add extra sources and maybe even conflicting data. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mabel2 (talkcontribs) 15:36, 7 April 2017 (UTC)

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  1. ^ http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/vsus/vsrates1900_40.pdf