Public Health Consequences of Mass Hunger

  • Lazar Beinin


Famine as a natural disaster is determined by a combination of natural and social factors. Two aspects are relevant to the problem of malnutrition, the biomedical and the sociocultural. Among the natural causes are failed harvests and droughts resulting from meteorological conditions [17]. Hunger follows where crops have been destroyed by floods, typhoons, or such biological phenomena as swarms of locusts. Hunger can also be a consequence of volcanic eruptions. The one on Iceland on July 20, 1783 killed 75% of the cattle within 40 days. This was due to poisoning by fluorine and other elements and compounds from the lava flow, and to the lack of grass, which had been burnt under the volcanic ash. One-fifth of the total population (i.e., 100 000 people) died of hunger and disease [271].


Natural Disaster Mass Migration Public Health Consequence Infectious Morbidity Relapse Fever 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lazar Beinin
    • 1
  1. 1.Nazareth/IlitIsrael

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