- Baptist Press - https://www.baptistpress.com -

What is the definition of a ‘famine’?


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–“Famine” is a powerfully emotive word, and aid organizations do not use it lightly to describe a humanitarian crisis.

In the strict sense, it means people are starving on a massive scale. Most major aid agencies only describe a crisis as a famine when the situation on the ground meets at least three of these eight conditions:

— At least 20 percent of the population has access to fewer than 2,000 calories of food a day.

— Acute malnutrition in more than 30 percent of children.

— Two deaths per 10,000 people due to starvation, or four child deaths per 10,000 children per day.

— A pandemic illness.


— Access to less than four liters of water a day.

— Large-scale displacement.

— Civil strife.

— Complete loss of assets and source of income.
Compiled by IMB Staff.