Drought, famine and disasters

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Famines are as elusive as they are fatal. While famines are often overlooked in the disaster literature, they are among the deadliest contemporary events: a quarter million people perished in the 2011 Somalia famine. This chapter discusses definitions and potential delineations of this elusive disaster. Rather than being rooted in natural hazards, famines are more closely related to complex emergencies and mass atrocities such as pogroms and ethnic cleansing. The chapter outlines the main theoretical streams of famine analysis by drawing on a broad range of contemporary famine cases such as the 2017 South Sudanese famine, the 2011 Somalia famine, and the North Korea famine in the 1990s. The chapter argues that the already interdisciplinary domain of famine analysis could be strengthened from a closer integration with disaster studies, both in terms of expanding the epistemological community as well as benefiting from the disaster field's greater analytical and theoretical dynamism.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDefining Disaster : Disciplines and Domains
EditorsMarie Aronsson-Storrier , Rasmus Dahlberg
Number of pages17
Place of PublicationCheltenham
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Publication date21 Jan 2022
ISBN (Print)9781839100291
ISBN (Electronic)9781839100307
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2022

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