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Historical Background

Everybody has had short-term hunger before, but most of us have never experienced long term starvation. Billions of people in the world are suffering because of starvation. These are innocent people who are not getting enough to eat. For these people, starvation means the dietary intake that does not provide the quantity of food needed for growth, activity, and the maintenance of good health. Humans need the right foods or the cells in their body will not work properly. Without food, a cell must use its own parts to keep working. As time without food increases, the vital cells become so weak that they die. Through droughts, floods, and lack of food, millions of people struggle to survive. Starvation is an issue that occurs worldwide. Nobody can stop it and too many people are being affected by it. Starvation is a problem that is affecting about twenty million Africans. In Africa, starvation mainly is a result from brutal droughts that dry crops. Children are born starving and although the mother feeds them with her milk, there is not much for the babies to eat. There is not much hope that the starvation problem will improve soon. South Africa is facing a food shortage that threatens millions of lives because of droughts. More than 2.6 million people are going hungry. Malawi, Zambia, Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe are suffering from the harshest conditions and make up the six neediest countries in the area. Hunger is one of the biggest issues in our world today and many people are trying to aid this problem, but not much support can help most of these people.  

Current Status

Around eighty-five percent of deaths occurs in children five and younger who are not properly getting the right amount of food into their bodies. Every 2.43 seconds a person dies of hunger. Currently, millions of people around the world are suffering and losing their lives due to hunger. As of May 2, 2002, Southern Africa was experiencing a food deficiency that killed many people. Famine still occurs in Southern Africa and millions of innocent people are going hungry. The United Nations World Food Program described the issue as the most severe and urgent dilemma currently facing the international community. It is a complex crisis with a different situation in all of the six countries affected. The starvation problem is so bad, even words that are describing it can make you shiver. Recently, starvation is mainly attacking Malawi, Zambia, Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

Analysis/Recent Flare Ups

Starvation is caused by a number of conditions. Some include anorexia nervosa, fasting or severe gastrointestinal disease. Most of these people are already born into hunger. As a child, they did not get enough protein or water into their systems. This can occur when the area the people inhabit does not have enough food for everybody or they are experiencing a drought. The body's form and its functions can be affected by starvation. Starvation can cause the shrinkage of vital organs, such as the heart or the lungs, decreased ability to digest food because of lack of digestive acid production, reduction in muscle mass and weakness, and swelling from fluid under the skin. When hunger affects the children, it stunts their growth. When starvation affects an adult, anemia begins to hit them. Their legs become swollen and they lose their resistance to infection. It also begins to become difficult for a person to swallow, which makes it harder for a person to consume the right amount of food. The body becomes so skinny that you could see their bones covered by a thin layer of skin. There is absolutely no muscle or fat on their bodies. Malnutrition affects the normal growth and development, the physical functions, and the ability to fight and resist infections. Two of the main things that happen to a person under starvation are stunted growth and thinning. Stunting is when the growth of a human is slowed and the person does not grow to be their normal size. Thinning is what makes the individual look unhealthily skinny.

Previous Attempts

Over the years, there have been many attempts to end world hunger.  People have tried feeding them, taking them to better places, but none of that is working. The main idea to help end world hunger is to bring food to the hungry as much as possible. Although this might assist some people, it is not enough to cure everybody. Some people have thought about building the dry areas an irrigation system, but there has been no action taken concerning that idea. The hungry cannot eat large amounts of food over a short period of time because their bodies are not used to it.  So in order to feed these people, volunteers are feeding them little rations at a time to try and get them the right amount of nutrients and food in their systems. The volunteers do their best by flying food and doctors over to aid the sick and hungry. Many doctors try to heal the patients inserting nutrients into their body by a needle. Most just try to help feed them. They mostly receive grain, rice and any other food that can last for a long time without going bad. People tried to start a garden in Africa to help create a source of food so they could have a passageway to food. That plan didn’t work out because the ground was not fertile enough and there wasn’t a right amount of water present. Most of the people that are starving are deprived of water. A human can live without food for about two to three weeks but a human cannot survive without water for three to four days. The people that nourish the hungry have to bring a numerous amounts of supplies and water. It is hard to ship water over long distances without it becoming contaminated or evaporating. Without volunteers, many more people would die each day.


In the future, we should build irrigation systems in the countries that do not have enough water. Waterways would help the starving because they can always have a passageway to water, which would help them with their health by growing food and quenching their thirst. It will be very hard to stop starvation because there are so many people in the world who are suffering from hungry and it is hard to feed everybody who is in need. I personally do not think that there is a way in which we can end world hunger. We might be able to help some people, but to be able to cure everybody who lacks the right amount of food, that is almost impossible. It is hard for a person who has already suffered from the effects of hunger to all of a sudden be treated. Their bodies would not be able to adapt to all of that food so quickly and an effect may be that person dying when they consume food that fast.


If the degree of malnutrition is severe, the intestines may not tolerate a fully balanced diet. They may not be able to absorb plenty nutrition at all. Carefully prepared elemental diets or intravenous feeding must begin the treatment. The treatment back to health is long and first begins with liquids. Gradually, solid foods are introduced and a daily diet of 5,000 calories or more is needed. “The Ethiopian government is designing a worldwide attraction for food assistance,” said Olga Keita of the World Food Program. "You could see the condition of these children. If they are not receiving food in a few weeks, we will not find anybody in this village.”  Olga is only one of thousand of volunteers who want to support the starving.

People are grateful for the lifeline of food aid, but they prefer to have healthy land instead.  The land is much more useful than food because if they can grow food in fertile soil, then they won’t need assistance from volunteers.  The United States and other Western governments spent millions of dollars to send grain to Ethiopia. Aid workers agree that the money would have been better spent on long-term solutions, such as irrigation systems.

If as a lot of people all chipped in to help us build irrigation systems for the starving, maybe it would help the starving people.   Fertile soil and waterways would be a good way of helping the hungry.  They could grow their own food, and as time goes by, and plants begin to grow, they won’t be as starving as they are now. Through droughts, floods, and lack of food, millions of people struggle to survive in our world today.