Sudan famine.jpg


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from feim, faim hunger, from Latin fames


  • 1 : an extreme scarcity of food
  • 2 archaic : starvation
  • 3 archaic : a ravenous appetite
  • 4 : a great shortage


A famine is a widespread scarcity of food that may apply to any faunal species. This phenomenon is usually accompanied by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality.

Emergency measures in relieving famine primarily include providing deficient micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, through fortified sachet powders or directly through supplements. The famine relief model increasingly used by aid groups calls for giving cash or cash vouchers to the hungry to pay local farmers instead of buying food from donor countries, often required by law, as it wastes money on transport costs.

Long term measures include investing in modern agriculture in places that lack them, such as fertilizers and irrigation, which largely eradicated hunger in the developed world. However, World Bank strictures restrict government subsidies for farmers and the spread of fertilizer use is hampered by some environmental groups.[1]