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Famine is identified as a lengthy process wherein a large number of people or an entire community loses access to food. Such process could occur for long period of time and last for almost two or more cropping seasons. More than food shortage, famine is an indication of distortion in the normal food prices and decline in the economy of a whole community which could affect the aspect of production and exchange, income, and employment of the entire household in the affected community (Sen, 1981; Greenough, 1982; Ravallion, 1987; Desai, 1988; Dreze, 1990a cited in Field, 1993).

In addition, famine could result in the increase of mortality rate because of starvation along with the persistence of diseases (Cox, 1981 cited in Field, 1993). Two of the most devastating famines that were recorded were the Irish “Potato Famine” of 1846 to 1850 and the Ethiopian Famine of 1984 to 1985. During the 1800’s, majority of the Irish population rely on the production of potato as a source of livelihood. As such, this was seen as a potential danger because of the fact that majority of the landholdings were owned by rural families, and many of the poor families in the area were sharing in small lands.

By 1845, the potato crops were infested, causing the potatoes to rot. In the end, the so-called “Potato Blight” wiped out the primary food source of the Irish populace. Until 1848, there was a continuous failure in the crop harvest which left the poor people with nothing to eat. Although there were other available crops to be harvested such as barley and oats, these crops were owned by powerful landowners and were continuously exported while majority of the people were starving.

Because of these reasons, it was recorded that more than one million people died due to starvation and diseases while others were forced to flee. However, a large portion of the fleeing population died on the overcrowded ships, and only few were able to leave alive. The government of England did not provide effective help for the victims of the famine especially during the leadership of Lord John Russell who was an advocate of the laissez-faire doctrine which indicates that the “government must not interfere with the economy” (“Irish Potato Famine 1846-1850,” 2008, n. p. ).

As a result, the government did not provide any support for food programs and left the people to starve while the landlords continuously evicted the hungry natives from their homes (“Irish Potato Famine 1846-1850,” 2008). Meanwhile, in Ethiopia, agriculture was the main source of livelihood of the nation. Almost 90% of the export industry and 80% of the country’s employment were derived from agriculture. In early1970’s, Ethiopia suffered from droughts and famines which carried on until the latter parts of the 1970’s.

In the middle parts of 1984, it was predicted by the government that the agricultural production of the country would be considerably low because rainfall was lesser than it was expected. However, the government did not act at once during its early detection. As a result, the drought led to famine which affected almost 8 million people, one million of whom died due to starvation (Kelley, 2008). Apparently, both the famines were the result of natural catastrophe; the Irish Famine was caused by infestation while Ethiopian famine was the result of drought.

However, the food crisis in both regions worsened because of the inability of their governments to provide necessary support. The government of England, during the time of famine, refused to give out support despite the country’s available funds (“Irish Potato Famine 1846-1850,” 2008). On the other hand, Ethiopian government was not financially and organizationally prepared for the crisis because of their continuous funding for military equipments used for the internal war that permeated the Northern part of the county (“Starvation in Ethiopia,” 2008).

Fortunately, there were aid efforts which were spearheaded by charitable organizations from other countries. The Society of Friends and the Quakers from America offered the most successful relief measures during the Irish Potato Famine (“Irish Potato Famine 1846-1850,” 2008) while the Canadian government and other United Nations’ agencies were shocked by the document of CBC news about Ethiopia. Thus, they motivated citizens to act on the crisis and called forth for the attention of the world to provide relief for Ethiopia (Kelley, 2008).

The occurrence of the famines, such as the ones in Ireland and Ethiopia, led to a chain of events because nothing effective is done in order to break the whole process during its initial outbreak. It is important to note that the offshoot could have been prevented earlier if precautionary measures were taken which in the long run would be the best solution to any crisis. As such, preparedness should also be given emphasis in order to avoid another threat of famine. In the end, development of the country would be safeguarded, and the lives of the people would be properly nurtured. References Field, J. (1993).

The challenge of famine. The international Famine Center. Retrieved September 25, 2008 from http://www. ucc. ie/famine/About/abfamine. htm. Kelley, L. (2008). Ethiopian Famine Relief 1984-85. Towson University. Retrieved September 25, 2008 http://www. towson. edu/polsci/irencyc/T9840217/test. htm. Starvation in Ethiopia: Looking into the face of hunger. (2008). Oracle Think quest. Retrieved September 25, 2008 http://library. thinkquest. org/05aug/01259/ The Irish potato famine 1846-1850. (2008). DoChara. Retrieved September 25, 2008 from http://www. dochara. com/eat/history/potato-famine. php.

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