starvation and politics

Alex de Waal has written a very thoughtful review of starvation and the practical political elements in this.
Starvation can come in various forms and causes.
Absolute starvation is rare, this is often a technique in warfare where a group of people are surrounded by hostile forces and denied food and water. This is pure starvation. This has happened in Darfur and Ethiopia
Where the supply of food is drastically educed by climatic, food supply Government inaction or error or other reasons than the cause of death is often a secondary event an superimposed disease e.g. infectious diarrhoea or pneumonia.
Amartya Sen wrote that famines do not occur in countries which have a free press and democratic elections. India has been relatively free of famines since independence whereas during Chairman Mao’s Great Leap Forward ( 1958-61) some 30 million died.
More recently the expectation of life in China has exceeded India.
Lancet 2008 The Art of Medicine. On famine crimes and tragedies vol 372, pages 1538-1539

Martin Eastwood
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