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close this bookWar and Famine in Africa (Oxfam, 1991, 36 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
close this folder1. Introduction
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View the document1.1 The international context
View the document1.2 Oxfam's experience in Africa
View the document1.3 A Note on methodology
close this folder2 Food insecurity and the new world order
View the document2.1 The new world order'
View the document2.2 The position of Africa
close this folder3 Coping with change
View the document3.1 The intensification of production
View the document3.2 Political overview
View the document3.3 The development of 'Core' and 'Capitalisation Peripheral' areas
View the document3.4 The marginalisation of peripheral groups
View the document3.5 Patterns of social transformation
View the document3.6 The effects on the environment
View the document3.7 Coping with change
close this folder4 Local conflict
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View the document4.1 Conflict and resources
View the document4.2 Wars of subsistence
View the document4.3 Breaking the continuity
close this folder5 Internal conflict
View the document5.1 Connecting local and internal conflict
View the document5.2 limitations of conventional understanding
View the document5.3 War as political economy
close this folder6 War and famine
View the document6.1 Structural considerations
View the document6.2 The overall effect of war
View the document6.3 Some basic parameters
close this folder7 The internationalisation of public welfare
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View the document7.1 The conventions of war
View the document7.2 The internationalisation of public welfare
View the document7.3 The case for reform
View the document7.4 Oxfam's position
View the document7.5 Summary and conclusion
View the documentReferences

6.2 The overall effect of war

This report has already examined the central importance of coping strategies in attempting to survive enviro-economic famines (3.7). In his useful contribution to defining the specificity of African famine, de Waal (1990) has noted not only the role of coping strategies, but also the prevalence of conflict. The effect of conflict, both indirectly and as a deliberate strategy, has been to restrict or destroy people's means of subsistence and ability to cope. Under conflict conditions, people's vulnerability increases dramatically. If drought is also present, it compounds the vulnerability equation. If one then adds military strategies which actively promote, or in some cases prevent, population movement, or deny the availability of or access to relief food, then frank starvation is often the result, rather than the health crises of enviro-economic famines. Some recent examples of starvation under conflict conditions include Karamoja in Northern Uganda (1980), the worst areas of Northern Ethiopia (1984), Ethiopian resettlement camps (mid-1980s), and displaced Dinka in West Sudan (1988).

The consequences of war relate to the deliberate strategy of selectively destabilising and incapacitating rural groups. These actions are frequently employed by both sides in an internal conflict, although variations in the degree of application are common. In Uganda, Angola, and Mozambique, for example, the government forces, although employing similar tactics on occasion, are generally regarded as more restrained than the groups and movements confronting them. In Liberia, on the other hand, all parties to the conflict are involved in the systematic abuse of human rights (Africa Watch, 26/10/90). The main exceptions, as already mentioned, are Eritrea and Tigray.