– Famine is a highly technical term, to be used under very specific circumstances. Different definitions of famine exist as there are different classifications that are used to measure levels of food insecurity and that set cut-off limits for determining different phases of food security. These classifications typically use indicators such as anthropometrics and mortality. One example is the Famine Magnitude scale of Howe and Devereux which classifies the magnitude of famines: food secure, food insecure, food crisis, famine, severe famine, and extreme famine based on livelihood measures and measurements of mortality and child malnutrition to categorize a situation. Using this scale, famine conditions are defined as crude mortality rate >=1 but < 5/10,000/day, and/or Wasting > =20 per cent but < 40 per cent, and/or prevalence of oedema. Another example is the Integrated Food Security and Humanitarian Phase Classification (IPC) system, which classifies phases into generally food secure, moderately/borderline food insecure, acute food and livelihood crisis, humanitarian crisis and famine/human catastrophe. Here a famine/human catastrophe is classified by the key reference outcomes: crude mortality rate > 2/10,000/day; acute malnutrition > 30 per cent; disease pandemic; food access/availability extreme entitlement gap, much below 2,100 kilocalories per person per day; water access/availability. < 4 litres/person/day; destitution/displacement: large scale, concentrated; civil insecurity widespread: high intensity conflict; livelihood assets: effectively complete loss.
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