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IRIN Examines Public Opinion, Aid Impact Of Technical Term ‘Famine’

IRIN: Do we still care about the F word?
“…Technically, famine has a clear definition, occurring only when certain measures are met. They are: at least 20 percent of households in an area face extreme food shortages with a limited ability to cope; acute malnutrition rates exceed 30 percent; and the death rate exceeds two persons per day per 10,000 persons. But the word is also used by the humanitarian system to galvanize global attention. … Precisely because it has the power to be so influential on public opinion, use of the phrase is carefully guarded to have maximum impact…” (Dyke, 8/24).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.