Famine hit world headlines in the summer of 2005 as aid agencies raised the alarm over severe food shortages in Niger, where an estimated 2.7 million people were in desperate need of aid and more than 10 children were dying of starvation each week.
But how do such crises develop and why?
Although famine grabs the media spotlight, there is another more widespread scourge that rarely reaches people's television screens - chronic hunger. More than 850 million people go to bed hungry every night and suffer terrible effects as a result.
AlertNet has produced a package of useful resources on hunger and famine that aims to dispel myths about food crises and answer basic questions about a daily disaster that affects one in six of the world's people.OVERVIEW TALKING POINT: The global food aid controversy
Why are rich countries at each others' throats over the best way to feed the world's hungry?FACTSHEET: How does food aid work?
Key facts about the global food aid and how the system worksSLIDE SHOW: Life-cycle of a famine
A famine doesn't develop overnight - it usually takes months or even years. Find out how a food shortage develops into a full blown crisis.QUIZ: Five myths about famine and hunger
Test your knowledge with this quick true-and-false quiz.DEFINITIONS TALKING POINT: Why is famine so hard to define?
Governments and aid professionals have lengthy debates about whether a situation like Niger is a famine or a food crisis - and often the media are caught in the middle. So what is the difference and why are professionals so reluctant to use the F-word?GLOSSARY: Understanding the jargon of famine
Definitions of key nutritional termsFACTS AND FIGURES FACTSHEET: Hunger, the world's silent killer
Hunger kills more people every year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. But only eight percent of people who die of hunger die in a famine. Find out more about this hidden killer.FACTBOX: Ten worst famines of the 20th century
And none of them took place in Africa...THE IMAGE DEBATE Aid workers lament rise of 'development pornography'
Fierce competition for donations has rolled back progress in the way disaster victims are portrayed, NGOs sayTIPSHEET: How to portray famine victims with dignity?
Aid workers' suggestions for responsible use of pictures in fundraising appealsUSEFUL LINKS U.N. World Food Programme Hunger Map
Visit the WFP's interactive map to view the world's hunger hotspots.
- Food and Agriculture Organisation report on eradicating hunger
In 2000 the international community committed itself to halving the number of hungry people in the developing world by 2015. Read this report to find out how much progress has been made.
- Famine Early Warning Systems Network
- Annual U.N. reports on food insecurity
- Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping Systems
- U.N. World Food Programme
- Emergency Nutrition Network
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