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Friday, 1 May, 1998, 17:52 GMT 18:52 UK
A history of famine in Africa
starving child
Hunger and poverty kills thousands of people in Africa every year
In recent years, major famines have ravaged parts of Africa. The most badly affected area is in the northeast where the populations of Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan have all been victims of periodic privation.

In 1974 World Food Conference leaders promised that "within a decade no child would go hungry". But in 1996, governments admitted that more than 800 million people were not getting enough food to meet their most basic needs.

Droughts in Kenya: In January 1997 the Kenyan Government declared a state of national disaster after severe droughts threatened the livelihoods of two million people. Oxfam joined the Kenya Government to distribute food to about 150,000 people.

Starving Africa: The United Nations said in 1996 that about 22 million people in sub-Sahara Africa were facing starvation.

War ration: The civil war in Sudan led to 2.5 million Sudanese needing emergency food in February 1994. In the spring, almost seven million people were threatened by food shortages in Ethiopia. Despite a large relief effort and generous donations, between 5,000 and 10,000 people died.

Starvation in Somalia: World attention focused on Somalia in 1992 when more than two million people faced possible starvation. About 25,000 American troops working for the United Nations helped deliver food.

Ethiopia plight: In 1988, widespread famine caused by drought put six million of Ethiopia's 46 million population at risk of starvation.

The great famine: The largest famine to hit Ethiopia killed almost one million people between 1984 and 1985. Pop singer Bob Geldof brought about the recording of the Band Aid single leading to a concert which raised more than $100m to hlep alleviate the crisis.

Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


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