Food Security, Famine, Food Shortage and Malnutrition.

“Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”.

(World Food Summit, 1996)
Task 1) Use the links to define the following terms. 
  1. Food Shortage
  2. Famine 
  3. Malnutrition

Global Patterns of Undernourishment?

Figure 1: 2017 World Hunger Map from World Food Program. Click to download a copy

Task 2:

Use the map opposite to describe the distribution of countries with high and very high (> 25%) of the population who are undernourished. Include named locations.

The Food Crisis in South Sudan

Why is there a food crisis in South Sudan?

As South Sudan enters its fifth year of conflict, up to 7.1 million people in the country — the highest number ever — will be severely food insecure at the height of the lean season from mid-May to July, unless a sustained and comprehensive humanitarian response is mounted.

Task 3: An Overview of the Food Crisis in South Sudan:  

  1. Where is South Sudan? Write a detailed geographical description that includes a map of South Sudan, it’s neighbouring countries and key geographical features. 
  2. Describe the climate of South Sudan using the information here
  3. Watch the video above and read the other information and make write a brief overview of the situation in South Sudan. 

The Causes of the Food Crisis in South Sudan.

Food shortages can occur for a number of reasons that can be classified as either Human or Physical. Physical causes can be drought, flooding, soil erosion, plant disease or pests. Human causes may include war, lack of infrastructure, lack of investment in irrigation or corruption. As you may expect the South Sudan crisis has been caused by a mixture of both human and physical factors. 

Task 4: 

  1. Look back at the overview you created for task 3. What causes are mentioned in the video. Add them to the table in the worksheet. 
  2. Read the following  articles and add the causes mentioned to your table. 

“South Sudan declares famine; aid groups lament ‘man-made’ tragedy”

“Sudan farming season stricken by drought”

“Rainy season in South Sudan threatens to further isolate populations”

“Spiraling Violence and Drought Drive Refugee Crisis in South Sudan”

“South Sudan confirms outbreak of fall armyworm pest”


The Consequences of the South Sudan Food Crisis.

Over 4 million people – 1 in 3 – have been forced to flee their homes due to this brutal war. Nearly 2.5 million have fled to neighbouring countries. There are now 1 million South Sudanese refugees in Uganda, making up about half of the country’s total refugee population.


Task 5: 

Using examples, describe and explain the impact that the famine has had South Sudan and its neighbouring countries. 

South Sudan conflict, hunger: Facts, FAQs, and how to help

South Sudan’s food crisis ‘worst in the world’ – UN

Conflict pushes South Sudanese into hunger – more than 6 million people face desperate food shortages

Forced Migration: 

Whilst we are using this case study to illustrate the probelms of food shortages and food insecurity, it is also an example of forced migration.

  1. What are the push and pull factors, how is this migration affecting the countries involved?
  2. What is the largest city in South Sudan? How is the crisis affecting the city? 





Other causes of food shortages:

3) Whilst we often associate drought with being the main cause of food shortage it is not the only cause. Use the links below to outline other causes. ¨Remember to make sure you have an example for each cause.

US biofuel production should be suspended, UN says

Global food prices rise in July due to extreme weather

China official warns of 300-year desertification fight

4) page on Food Shortages (complete the food shortages worksheet from this page)

5) Exam Style Questions
  • Explain how food shortages can be caused by the natural environment. (4 marks)

  • Explain how food shortages can be caused by human actions. (4 marks)

  • For a named country or region you have studied, describe the causes of food shortages. (7 marks)

  • For a named country or region you have studied, explain the causes of food shortages. (7 marks)

  • There is large scale famine in some developing countries. This may be they result of: physical factors, economic factors, political factors. Explain why there are food shortages in some parts of the world. You should refer to examples which you have studied. (7 Marks) (taken from

The case study above is from 2011. Sadly the situation has not improved a great deal

In 2015 The United Nation warned that more than 15 million people in Ethiopia would be in need of food aid by the beginning of 2016 because of a severe drought. A lack of rain meant that crop yields in the worst-affected areas were down by 90% in 2015.

Do some internet research to find out more about he situation today? Is the famine continuing?


The Ethiopian government set aside nearly £130m to deal with the crisis but the UN asked for a further £330m.


Unfortunately the warnings and appeals made little difference as