Famine

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Description or situation

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A famine is an extreme and general scarcity of food, effecting a country or  large geographical area. The potential results from imbalances between the supply, availability and distribution of food and the rate of consumption. Regardless of the catalysts, ... a famine comes with a long list of negative attributes which inevitably pose additional risks and conditions for sustaining societal communities making aspects of survival very challenging. Famines, ... and the causes leading up to such events can have detrimental effects to the quality of life and how people interact with one another. Without food and sustenance, ... humanity can easily default to a primitive state of being where chaos and disruption are predominant.

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What is Famine?

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The word famine and famish come from the Latin meaning of "hunger." A famine is a widespread scarcity of food caused by several factors. The word "Famine" implies the translation of Hunger effecting entire regions of population which are subject to a lack of food. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, increased levels of crime and a higher rate of mortality. There are signs leading up to famines which can be indicators for survivalists to begin making preparations. Unfortunately by that time it may be too late. It is advantageous for survival minded people to have engaged in preparing long before the general public becomes aware of what is about to happen. Awareness becomes the beginning of panic resulting in a rapid depletion of food and resources. Appropriate and lasting preparations comes from knowledge which translates to surviving. Famine is simply another word for starvation.

The effects of starvation can turn civilized people into savages and the desperation to survive is a path that can be best avoided with preparation. History accounts for periods in time when societies were forced to live on less food than desired. There was simply not enough food to feed everyone. Those conditions depicted what became most important for the majority of the human race during times of famine. As a result, ... most anything goes when people are combating the forces of hunger and competing for food. The most extreme conditions of a famine can result in the death of many people.

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The image to the right depicts a family who's actions were too late and chose to avoid the panic at the grocery store during a regional disaster. Unfortunately this is a common occurrence during events that threaten concentrated areas of population. Hungry kids, What now?

 

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What causes a Famine?

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It’s amazing to discover how fragile society can be. Especially without food!! Cause and effect play a role in the conditions leading up to a famine. For instance, … Food shortages can be caused by crop failures as a result of natural disasters. Natural conditions such as poor weather, insect plagues, plant disease, droughts, fires, volcanic eruptions, high winds and extreme temperatures can create conditions that effect crop production.

Other causes of a famine can be associated with human intent or as a result of decisions made by humans such as related to transportation and logistical inadequacies and of course aspects associated with war. Disruptions to the transportation processes of food can effect deliveries to heavily populated or rural areas. Just a such a disruption in the food supply can cause the effected population to go hungry, .... especially if the effected areas are dependent on food deliveries and are not accustomed to providing for themselves. The effects of warfare can also result in damage to crops as well as resulting in a heavy depletion as food which will most likely be diverted from the mouths of civilians to military personnel.

Another factor of famine resides in the element of population quantity and growth rate. As the Earth becomes subdued by the ever growing population of people the food sources must also expand to meet the daily needs for survival. If this is not accommodated for or considered and goes unaddressed than the risks of a famine become increasingly higher. The importance of this issue might be better understood with numbers and data reflecting the consumption of food by the human race. As it stands the population of Earth consumes approximately 11.5 million pounds of food in just sixty seconds. That's equivalent to about 20 million cheeseburgers a minute.While we eat 5,133 tons per minute, we unfortunately waste an additional 2,472 tons in the same period of time. [Source]. 

Enforced starvation as a political tool is by no means beyond the vision and actions of oppressive administrations. It happens!!!! Famines are not limited to what has been mentioned above.

Famines can also be self inflicted. Some cultures choose to reside in areas that are not conducive for growing food therefore subject themselves to minimal portions on a regular basis just short of starvation. Similar conditions can be seen in poverty stricken areas where money to buy food is just as scarce. In those conditions it is not the scarcity of food that may be primarily responsible for a famine. It is typically due to a lack of enthusiasm, motivation, personal drive or knowledge and/or the inability to function which keep many people stuck in a position of poverty and are unable to help themselves.

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What are the effects of a famine?

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The social impact of famines can be disruptive and have a wide range of consequences. Mild conditions or the beginning stages of a famine can result in a shift from what was highly valued to what is most important. Food!!! If a culture has not been previously exposed to famine like conditions it is reasonable to expect denial and disbelief amongst the population or region. Especially if the signs leading up to a famine are subtle and develop slowly. Many citizens will continue living their lives just as they have been doing, ... especially if they possess or are accustomed to having an abundant amount of resources. If the condition of a famine comes about slowly than the effects might be seen in the escalation of food prices or availability. Those with the resources may complain or object as the prices for food climb higher and higher but will typically continue to pay out of necessity. Meanwhile, those who are less fortunate learn to improvise by attempting to grow food themselves or purchase items commonly referred to as staples, (beans, rice, potatoes etc.), which can cost less.

The next level in severity of a famine gets much worse. This is the point during a famine when most of the population has come to realized that survival may be come a major concern. Famines have been know to cause mass migrations of people in search of food, a breakdown of social behavior, abandonment of cooperative efforts, loss of personal pride and finally a struggle for individual survival. During this process people are forced to do things they are not accustomed to doing. Things such as selling off personal property or items of value, theft, prostitution, murder and even cannibalism are not beyond the behavior of desperate human beings suffering from starvation.

Additional effects of a famine include the hardships of accelerated education simply meaning that skill sets must adapt to the changing conditions to produce or find food and sustenance. The time required to learn new skills may not be available for many city dwellers who have relied solely on purchasing food from grocery stores or restaurants. Heavily populated areas generally lack the real-estate to produce enough food to make a difference. Therefore migration is highly inevitable. It is during the migration process where many crimes of desperation can occur.

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How likely is a Famine to happen?

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      Is an assessment of the potential for a famine to occur worth our concerns? ..... It should be!!!                     Several factors can be put into play which can tip the balance from scattered famines to a global event. The following information presents data accumulated from studies and research which indicate how fragile the stability of food production and supplies are on Earth.

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Global Impacts of Limited Nuclear War on Agriculture, Food Supplies, and Human Nutrition.

Over the last several years, a number of studies have shown that a limited, regional nuclear war between India and Pakistan would cause significant climate disruption worldwide. The results of these studies has prompted additional research and the creation of models to better understand the effects of certain calamities or events that can be detrimental to the entire planet.

 A global famine could threatening more than two billion people. Epidemic disease and further conflict spawned by such a famine would put an additional hundreds of millions at risk. These findings are found in the following publication by author Ira Helfand, a physician from Northampton, Massachusetts, who has been writing and speaking about the consequences of nuclear war for many years. [Source]

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Famines likely without democracy

Famines may be more likely to occur during an oppressive regime or leadership. This is typically due to the fact that there is no motivation by an oppressive administration to win the hearts and loyalty of their citizens. On the other hand studies conclude that democratic societies are less likely to experience a famine due to just the opposite. The aim is to win the hearts and loyalty of the voters. Providing assistance such as food and water on behalf of the government to those who need it generally prevents a famine from becoming more than localized. Protecting the values of a liberated country is advantageous and creates a higher degree of prevention as well as a secure environment where famines are less likely to occur. ''No famine has ever taken place in the history of the world in a functioning democracy.  [Source]

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http://www.nytimes.com/2003/03/01/arts/does-democracy-avert-famine.html ]

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Famines in history

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For those thinking historically, there's a good chance the word famine calls up episodes like the one that took place during China's Great Leap Forward between 1958 and 1961. A study commissioned by the Chinese government conducted in the mid-1980s figured the death toll of the Great Famine to be about 17 million. Since then, additional independent sources have pored over archived evidence and put the number closer to 30 million, perhaps as high as 35 or even 45 million people. [sources: New York Times, Financial Times]. Victims of the Great Famine died due to starvation and violence, and cases of torture and cannibalism were uncovered in the records as well.

 

Nearly every continent in the world has experienced a period of famine throughout history. Some countries, particularly in sub-Sahara Africa, continue to have extreme cases of famine. Famines have been common ever since the development of agriculture which made human settlements possible. This is a selective list of known major famines, ordered by date. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_famines].

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Biblical references for famines

The first mentioned in Scripture was so grievous as to compel Abraham to go down to the land of Egypt (Gen. 26:1). Another is mentioned as having occurred in the days of Isaac, causing him to go to Gerar (Gen. 26:1, 17). But the most remarkable of all was that which arose in Egypt in the days of Joseph, which lasted for seven years (Gen. 41-45). Famines were sent as an effect of God's anger against a guilty people (2 Kings 8:1, 2; Amos 8:11; Deut. 28:22-42; 2 Sam. 21:1; 2 Kings 6:25-28; 25:3; Jer. 14:15; 19:9; 42:17, etc.). A famine was predicted by Agabus (Acts 11:28). Josephus makes mention of the famine which occurred A.D. 45. Helena, queen of Adiabene, being at Jerusalem at that time, procured corn from Alexandria and figs from Cyprus for its poor inhabitants.  [source]

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  Find  "solutions to famine" 

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Videos

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References

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malnutrition

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starvation

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epidemic

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Famine

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunger

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Staple_food

 http://www.internationalbusinessguide.org/hungry-planet/

http://www.psr.org/assets/pdfs/two-billion-at-risk.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_famines

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/18/world-food-consumption_n_4978947.html

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