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close this bookDrought and Famine (Department of Humanitarian Affairs/United Nations Disaster Relief Office - United Nations Development Programme , 1994, 53 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentUnited Nations reorganization and the Disaster Management Training Programme
View the documentIntroduction
Open this folder and view contentsPART 1 Drought
Open this folder and view contentsPART 2 Famine
Open this folder and view contentsPART 3 Institutional issues
View the documentReferences
View the documentFootnotes
View the documentAnnex 1: Acronyms
View the documentModule Evaluation


1 By virtue of costly technology that allows salt to be removed from water, desalinised sea water has become an important source of water for domestic, industrial and agricultural purposes in some of the arid, oil rich states of the Middle East. However, this unique water source is not considered here.

2 For the USA the total costs and losses of the 1987-89 drought have been compared to estimates of the losses that might be expected from the ‘worst case’ hurricane - roughly $7 billion, and the ‘worst case’ earthquake - between $30-50 billion (Riebsame et al. 1991)

3 Some researchers, notably de Waal (1989), have questioned wether famine necessarily involves increased mortality, and on the basis of the terms used by the population in his study area (Darfur, Western Sudan) distinguishes between “famines that kill” and “famines” that may not “kill” but result in hunger, destitution and social breakdown. This distinction helps by a) showing that those affected by famine may define it differently to those definitions used by outsiders, and b) that for those affected the process leading up to increased mortality has a similar importance to the threat of increased mortality.

4 The current internationally accepted standards for calorie and micronutrient intake to enable “an active and healthy life” are contained in WHO (1985).