IB outcome: Examine the variety of causes responsible for a recent famine.


The World Food Program requires 3 factors to be evident before a famine is declared:
1. At least 20 percent of the population has fewer than 2,100 calories of food a day;
2. Prevalence acute malnutrition must exceed 30 percent of children; and
3. The death rate must exceed two deaths per 10,000 people, or four child deaths per 10,000 people per day.

Temporary Hunger: A short term need for food, triggered by physiological responses caused by food deprivation.

Starvation/Chronic Hunger: A state of extreme hunger which results from a shortage of appropriate food for a prolonged period of time.

Introduction to Famine in Ethiopia:

As you watch the video, take notes of the variety of causes of Famine in Ethiopia. Divide your answers in S.P.E.E.D. sections:

The famine of 2003 in Ethiopia was the worst famine since the mid-1980s. About one fifth of the population was left without food and tens of thousands of people died as a result of starvation and malnutrition.

In groups, complete a detailed case study for each of the following sub topics on Ethiopia’s Famine in the year 2000s:

  • Remember to focus all your answers on the impact of these factors on food security and famine



  • Consider:
    • Ethiopia’s varied ethnic groups
    • Ethiopia’s various religion
    • Health – Sanitation, access to freshwater,
    • Education
    • Access to healthcare
    • Traditional agricultural systems and land repartition


  • Consider: 
    • Role of Government
    • Selling and leasing of land to Chinese, Saudi and Indian TNCs (see above)
    • Ethiopia’s Debt, Debt 2
    • The role of the IMF
    • Government subsidies and the impact of IMF
    • Government denies there is a famine and lack of cooperation with NGOs
    • Benefits of Aid
    • Technology and infrastructure



  • Consider:
    • Remember our Hazards unit on drought (causes, speed of onset, duration etc)
    • Ethiopia’s geographic location, physical features and climate
    • Recent drought
    • Recent crop failure
    • Soil degradation due to agriculture
    • Reduction in biodiversity due to agribusiness
    • % of arable land


You will have today’s class and Wednesday’s first period to research. You will present your findings on Wednesday.

On Friday, you will have a summative, in-class essay on Famine in Ethiopia.