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Expat Safety Tips: Famine

Unfortunately, famine and food crises threaten the lives of millions, and they can often strike unexpectedly. They generally occur in poor countries and countries including South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen are at risk of starvation and death due to a prolonged famine. However, a famine can be caused by several different factors and nowhere is exempt.

It’s important to know what do to in the event of famine and how to stay safe no matter where you’re travelling to or residing.

What is famine?

A famine is a widespread scarcity of food that is usually caused by factors such as; war, inflation, crop failure, population imbalance or government policies. It’s been described in Dan Maxwell and Nisar Majid’s 2016 book Famine in Somalia as being “an extreme crisis of access to adequate food, manifested in widespread malnutrition and loss of life due to starvation and infectious disease.”

Most people believe they only happen in third world countries but famine can occur anywhere and they can last for days, weeks, months and sometimes even years.

When might famine occur?

Famine is officially declared when one in five households in a specific area is lacking a satisfactory amount of food resulting in malnutrition, weight loss. Starvation and even death. Countries that might experience famine are those dealing with the complexity of disruptive events. Drought, social unrest and high food costs are an example of happenings that can cause famine but it’s mostly the lack of an adequate response to the drought or conflict that causes famine.

Famine is often declared too late and unfortunately, thousands of people will already have been seriously affected. Therefore, it’s essential to recognise the signs of famine and know how to stay safe should it occur.

Famine Survival Tips

Here are a few ways you can prepare and survive through famine:

Be prepared

Preparation is key in most situations but even more so in the event of a famine. Firstly, it’s advised to do your research and find out everything there is to know about famine.

Knowing why it might occur, where it could occur, and the effects could help you to anticipate famine and mean you can be better prepared to deal with it.

Stock up on food

Stock up on food that has a long shelf life, canned foods, frozen food and anything else that has a long date on it. Once you’ve done this monitor your goods and replenish your stock every six months to ensure that they will be okay to eat.

Grow your own food

If you want to be prepared well in advance should the food supply in your area/country abate then start growing your own food in your garden. This will mean you can stretch your food supply.

Stock up on water

When famine hits sometimes it can cause water to be scarce too and even if there is water it’s not guaranteed that it will be clean it could be contaminated depending on the calamity which has caused the famine.

Keep an eye on relief aid

The government or private organisations will be supplying food and water to those affected. It’s important to find out when this will happen so that you can seek aid.

Regardless of where you are it never hurts to be prepared for famine even if you don’t live in a high-risk country. Anything can happen and it feels good to know that you’re prepared.

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