What is chronic hunger?
Hunger is a word that is a bit tricky to define, but in the context of this lesson, we shall look at hunger in communities, countries and other places in the world.
Hunger is that painful sensation or exhausted condition that one feels from want of food. In relation to countries, it is also the scarcity of food, either for a short period (a year) or consistently for many years.
If a village’s farms are wiped out by a flood and result in no food for a couple of months, the people of that village will be hungry. We can say hunger will set in.
But in a way, it is different from a country suffering from the effects of many years of complex political, economic and climatic adversities. People in such a country have extreme food shortage year after year with no end in sight. That too is hunger.
Also, if a group of campers got stranded on an icy mountain for days without food, they will experience hunger too. So you see, hunger is a lot more than the absence of lunch or dinner for a day.
Hunger, therefore, is the situation, surrounded by food insecurity, and results in malnourishment. The emphasis on food insecurity is important because people suffering from hunger are constantly wondering where and when their next food will come from. Malnourishment is also key because hunger makes people eat anything to fill their tummy, with no regard to what they get from the meal. This means they can lack the essential nutrients the body needs to function properly.
Hunger gets more complex and worse when more and more communities are affected in close proximity. It looks slightly hopeful when a starving village, town or country is surrounded by others with abundance, than if they are with other starving settlements.