Famine: what does it really mean and how do aid workers treat it?

by Imogen Wall

Child being weighed by health care worker to see if the child may be malnourished. ©Matthew Abbott/AP/SIPA

Famine looms in Yemen, Nigeria, South Sudan and Somalia. The horrible, medieval fate of starving to death is once again a 21st-century reality. But what does the word famine actually mean and how do aid workers treat it?

For aid workers, famine is the extreme end of a long spectrum of what is know as food security – jargon for the level of physical and economic access a group of people have to adequate nutrition

  • World Hunger Education
    Service
    P.O. Box 29015
    Washington, D.C. 20017
  • For the past 40 years, since its founding in 1976, the mission of World Hunger Education Service is to undertake programs, including Hunger Notes, that
    • Educate the general public and target groups about the extent and causes of hunger and malnutrition in the United States and the world
    • Advance comprehension which integrates ethical, religious, social, economic, political, and scientific perspectives on the world food problem
    • Facilitate communication and networking among those who are working for solutions
    • Promote individual and collective commitments to sustainable hunger solutions.

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