Coping with Famine in Southern Ethiopia

August 1990 (VOL. 8, NO. 2)

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This report looks at famine in Southern Ethiopia as recalled by those who lived through it: the victims. The householders in the famine-hit area coped with the crisis through a series of coherent strategies which aimed primarily at safeguarding the long-term viability of the household economy. In famine survival it is not just the amount of food produced or the wealth held by a family that is important. Claims which can be made on other communities of households play a major part in surviving a crisis. Any analysis of famine vulnerability must look at the total bundle of assets held by a household including the less tangible \\"community claims.\\" Using this approach, it is possible to recognize local indicators of the early stages of famine, identify the most at-risk groups and propose development strategies which will directly reduce people\\'s vulnerability to future famine.