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OPINION

What is the definition of a 'famine'?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--"Famine" is a powerfully emotive word, and aid organizations do not use it lightly to describe a humanitarian crisis.

In the strict sense, it means people are starving on a massive scale. Most major aid agencies only describe a crisis as a famine when the situation on the ground meets at least three of these eight conditions:

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-- At least 20 percent of the population has access to fewer than 2,000 calories of food a day.

-- Acute malnutrition in more than 30 percent of children.

-- Two deaths per 10,000 people due to starvation, or four child deaths per 10,000 children per day.

-- A pandemic illness.

-- Access to less than four liters of water a day.

-- Large-scale displacement.

-- Civil strife.

-- Complete loss of assets and source of income.

Compiled by IMB Staff.

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net

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