What is famine?

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Publié le 23/07/18Modifié le 20/03/19

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We say a country is hit by famine when 1 in 5 of its inhabitants has nothing to eat… When 1 in 3 has a disease caused by lack of food… And when 2 out of 10,000 inhabitants starve to death every day. Famine mainly hits children, because without food, they are fragile and grow up with malformations. 

But how can such a humanitarian catastrophe happen?

Famines are sometimes caused by drought that burns crops and kills livestock. In regions where most people live off the land, it can be dramatic. But the main cause is not nature. Very often, wars and conflicts lead to famine. In a country at war, everything is destroyed or pillaged: houses, equipment, animals and crops. The inhabitants have to run leaving everything behind. Those who stay cannot produce food, or even buy food, because there’s nothing left to sell. What’s more, fighting often prevents food aid from getting to people. In 2017, the UN launched an appeal for donations to help 4 countries hit or threatened by famine… All of them have wars or raging conflicts. Money is necessary for emergency aid, but only peace can bring a lasting solution!

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