A famine is a social and economic crisis that is commonly accompanied by widespread malnutrition, starvation, epidemic and increased mortality.
Although many famines coincide with national or regional shortages of food, famine has also occurred amid plenty or on account of acts of economic or military policy that have deprived certain populations of sufficient food to ensure survival.
Historically, famines have occurred because of drought, crop failure and pestilence, and because of man-made causes such as war or misguided economic policies.
During the 20th century, an estimated 70 million people died from famines across the world, of whom fully 30 million died during the famine of 1958-61 in China.
Many areas that suffered famines in the past have protected themselves through technological and social development.
Today, famine strikes Sub-Saharan African countries the hardest, but with ongoing wars, internal struggles, and economic failure, famine continues to be a worldwide problem with millions of individuals suffering.