Famine, severe shortage of food, generally
affecting large numbers of people. Natural causes include droughts,
floods, earthquakes, insect plagues, and plant disease. Human causes
include wars, civil disturbances, sieges, deliberate crop destruction,
poverty, and inefficient food distribution. The immediate consequences
of famine are weight loss in adults and retarded growth in children.
Deaths are due in part to starvation, in part to diminished ability to
fight infection. One of the most dramatic large-scale consequences of
famine is population migration.
Famines have occurred periodically since ancient
times. Most researchers list about 400 famines in history. An
estimated 10 million people died in India in 1769 and 1770, and a
similar number died in the famine of 1877 and 1878 in northern China.
In the 20th century, the sub-Saharan Sahel region of Africa
has been famine-struck several times. Relief organizations for the aid
of famine victims are of fairly recent origin. The International Red
Cross organizes relief efforts both within and among countries.
Private and religious agencies have also provided relief, as have
numerous governments of developed countries. The establishment of the
United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration was followed
by the creation, in 1945, of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
of the United Nations (UN).
In recent years, major famines have occurred in
Africa, which may be susceptible to famine for the next few decades.
Contributing factors have included drought, desertification, poor
soils, rapid increases in population, and inadequate attention by some
governments to food production. Famine in Africa has also been most
severe where wars or civil unrest exist, as in Chad, the southern
Sudan, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Somalia.
In the early 1990s the world was producing more
than adequate food for the 5.3 billion people on the planet, and it
was believed to be capable of growing enough to feed the population
projected for the first part of the 21st century. To eliminate famine
and reduce malnutrition, however, attention would need to be given not
only to food production, but also to food distribution and consumption
and to family planning.
Facts About Famine
The Causes and Effects of Hunger
Each year, it seems like another corner of the world is under siege
by hunger and starvation. Famines are not new; they have been
mentioned in historical documents from the earliest times. Famines are
complex situations that require considerable international
co-operation in order to prevent them, to deal with them, and to cope
with their after-effects. On an individual level, an awareness of some
of the basic facts about famines is an important first step in helping
to control world hunger. As you read the following information, think
about why ignorance and apathy could also be classified as causes of
Causes of Famine
The world presently produces enough food to provide its entire
population with sufficient food (measured in calories) for survival.
However, inadequate and uneven distribution of that food has produced
an imbalance in consumption. At present, 60 per cent of the world’s
population does not consume an adequate number of calories. According
to a United Nations Human Development Report for 1997, 20 per cent of
the world’s population at any given time is constantly hungry.
Severe food shortages are caused in two ways: natural disasters and
The first consists of drought, floods, earthquakes, insect plagues,
and plant disease. The second can be war, civil strife, and
intentional crop destruction. Famines can also be caused by a rate of
population increase that exceeds the rate of food production increase.
For example, improved world health in the past century has led to a
major reduction in death rate around the world without a comparable
reduction in birth rate.
Results of Famine
A human body can tolerate a reduction in caloric intake to a
certain point. Reducing intake by half will result in a loss of
one-quarter of body weight without any other significant health
effects. Any further reduction can be harmful. However, in times of
famine, more deaths are caused by disease and illness because an
undernourished body is more susceptible.
Adults generally recover from famine without any long-term effects.
However, malnourished children may suffer permanent physical and
mental damage if the famine occurs at a critical time of their growth.
Trembling or shaking movement
of the earth's surface. Great earthquakes usually begin with slight
tremors, rapidly increase to one or more violent shocks, and diminish
gradually. The immediate cause of most shallow earthquakes is the
sudden release of stress along a FAULT, or fracture, in the earth's
crust, resulting in the movement of opposing blocks of rock past one
another. This causes vibrations to pass through and around the earth
in wave form (see TSUNAMI). The subterranean origin of an earthquake
is its focus; the point on the surface directly above the focus is the
epicenter. Waves generated by earthquakes are of several types. Both
P, or primary, waves, which are compressional and are the fastest, and
S, or secondary, waves, which cause vibrations perpendicular to their
motion, are body waves that pass through the earth. L, or long, waves
travel along the surface and cause damage near the epicenter.
Seismologists (see SEISMOLOGY) have deduced the internal structure of
the earth by analyzing changes in P and S waves. The magnitude and
intensity of earthquakes are determined by the use of scales, e.g.,
the Richter scale, no longer widely used, which describes the amount
of energy released at the focus of an earthquake; another scale that
measures the magnitude of an earthquake's surface waves and is
sometimes inaccurately called the Richter scale; and the
moment-magnitude scale, the most widely used scale, which is based on
the size of the fault on which the earthquake occurs and the amount of
the slippage along the fault.
War In the New Testament
War in the New Testament: Among the signs of
the last days given by our Lord are "wars and rumors of wars" (Mt
24:6; Mk 13:7; Lk 21:9; 21:24). Jesus accepts war as part of the
present world-order, and draws from it an impressive illustration of
the exacting conditions of Christian discipleship (Lk 14:31 ff). He
foresees how Jerusalem is to be encompassed with armies and devoted to
the bitterest extremities of war (Lk 19:41 ff). He conceives Himself
come, not to send peace on earth, but a sword (Mt 10:34); and declares
that they who take the sword shall perish by the sword (Mt 26:52). The
apostles trace war to the selfishness and greed of men (James 4:1 ff);
they see, speaking figuratively, in fleshly lusts enemies which war
against the soul (1 Pet 2:11); they find in war apt figures of the
spiritual struggle and divine protection and ultimate victory of the
Christian (Rom 7:23; 8:37; 2 Cor 10:3,5; 1 Tim 1:18; Heb 13:13; 1 Pet
1:5), and of the triumphs of Christ Himself (2 Cor 2:14; Col 2:15; Eph
2:16-17). Paul made the acquaintance of the barracks, both at
Jerusalem and at Caesarea (Acts 21:34,37; 23:35); and at Rome his
bonds became familiar to the members of the Praetorian guard who were
from time to time detailed to have him in keeping (Phil 1:13). It is
under the figures of battle and war that John in the Apocalypse
conceives the age-long conflict between righteousness and sin, Christ
and Satan, and the final triumph of the Lamb, who is King of kings,
and Lord of lords (Rev 16:14-16; 17:14; 19:14).
(from International Standard Bible Encylopaedia)
Reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Infectious Diseases are the leading cause of
death worldwide, and deaths from infectious diseases in the United
States have been increasing in recent years.
Infectious diseases ranked third among the leading causes of death
in 1992 in the United States.
In recent years, the wide use of effective antibiotics, the
potential for universal immunization for many childhood illnesses and
success stories such as the imminent eradication of polio encouraged
the perception that infectious diseases had been conquered.
However, even as some previously epidemic infectious diseases have
been controlled, new diseases emerge and old diseases rebound,
sometimes in drug-resistant forms. These events present increased
challenges to those involved in infectious disease prevention and
New, Reemerging and Drug-Resistant Infections In the last decade,
the AIDS pandemic and a host of "new" infectious diseases, such as
Lyme disease and Escherichiacoli infections, have affected more
persons each year. The incidence of a number of serious diseases
(including malaria, cholera and tuberculosis that were once under
control in many parts of the world) is increasing. Illnesses whose
causes have not been understood (like peptic ulcer, cervical cancer,
Kaposi's sarcoma) appear to result from microbial infection.
New or reemerging infectious diseases, such as hantavirus pulmonary
syndrome and hemorrhagic fevers (e.g. Ebola or Lassa), continue to
Foodborne diseases are increasing because of changes in food
sources, processing, transportation and diet.
Infections caused by drug-resistant organisms prolong illness, and
if not treated in time with expensive, alternative antimicrobial
agents, can cause death.
New or increasing drug resistance has been recognized in organisms
that cause malaria, tuberculosis, gonorrhea, pneumonia, middle ear
infections, diarrhea disease and hospital-acquired infections.
Priority Disease Prevention Areas
New, reemerging and drug-resistant infectious diseases
Foodborne and Waterborne diseases
Human immunodeficiency virus/AIDS
Infectious diseases acquired in health-care settings
Infectious diseases among infants and toddlers
Infectious diseases in immunodeficient persons
Infectious diseases in minority populations
Infectious diseases transmitted by animals and arthropods
Infectious respiratory diseases
Sexually transmitted diseases
Tropical infectious diseases
POWER OF EARTHQUAKES
Although the Alaskan earthquake of 1964 did
not cause a high number of fatalities compared to the Kobe, Japan,
earthquake, it is famous as one of the largest and longest tremors on
record. Measuring 9.2 on the Richter scale and lasting four minutes,
it caused layers of earth to liquefy and ripple like waves,
devastating sections of Anchorage and Valdez. Remarkably, many
buildings did not collapse, but instead settled at odd angles with the
Some of the most destructive earthquakes cause not only collapse of
buildings and fractured roadways, but also raging fires, avalanches,
and huge seismic sea waves called tsunamis, which can result in a
great number of deaths and casualties. While it has been difficult to
find accurate records for earthquakes prior to the 18th century, one
of the largest natural disasters in history was the Shaanxi, China,
earthquake of 1556, which resulted in 830,000 deaths.
The firestorms ignited by the 1906 San Francisco, California,
earthquake and the 1923 Tokyo, Japan, earthquake became the greatest
source of destruction in both earthquakes. Terrifying fires engulfed
the cities, leveling all wooden buildings and—in the case of
Tokyo—leaving 200,000 people dead.
The 1970 Peru earthquake is a famous example of a horrendous
landslide provoked by tremors, which caused snow and rock to fall 4000
m (13,200 ft), killing 66,000 people in the valley below. The Lisbon,
Portugal, earthquake of 1755, which claimed over 60,000 lives,
demonstrated the combined force of an earthquake to destroy buildings
not only by tremor, but also by widespread fire which burned for six
days, and by huge tsunamis that pummeled the harbor and were noticed
as far away as England.
While many cities—such as Kobe—rebuild after a devastating
earthquake, many others are abandoned, such as the original downtown
city of Managua, Nicaragua, which was destroyed in an earthquake in
In Matthew 24 and Mark 13, Jesus describes
events that will happen in the end time leading up to His return.
After telling them of wars, famines, pestilence and earthquakes, He
states that these are just the beginning of sorrows.
The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary states: Verse 8. "These
are the beginnings of sorrows."—"of travail-pangs," to which heavy
calamities are compared. (See Jer. 4:31).
The New Bible Commentary-Revised goes on to state: Verse 8
summarizes Mark 13:9-13 . Verses 10-12 are peculiar to Matthew and
list most of the spiritual disasters which can come on the Christian
community—apostasy. Treachery, internal hatred, heresy, lovelessness.
Couple these verses with the Blessings and Cursings Chapters;
Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 where God promises a number of
calamities to those countries that go against God and we further
understand the events and disasters that will visit this world in the
end time. They will include apostasy, treachery, internal hatred,
heresy, and lovelessness. They will also include climatic disasters
and a breakdown of society and government.
The logical question is, "Why is it so
important that a Third Temple be built in Jerusalem?" The simple
answer is, "Because the Bible foretells of an abomination that will
take place in the temple." Hence, if we see plans developing for the
building of a third temple we can conclude that we must be in those
times spoken of in Daniel, Matthew, and Mark. Look at the accumulation
of events and circumstances regarding the temple:
Never have the occurrences of wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes,
famines, diseases and other sorrows been so numerous and wide spread
and of such intensity and severity as they are today.
As prophecy predicated centuries ago, there is now a multi-national
power in the European Union with its own military arm which is gaining
strength day by day.
The third temple is ready to be built. Young boys are in training
as temple attendants. After many centuries, a sacrificial red heifer
without blemish is available for the temple’s dedication.
The Temple Mount, where the Al Aqsa and Dome of the Rock Mosques
sit, has been found to be riddled with 80 cracking and aging cisterns
and tunnels. This is the place where reportedly the Temple must be
built. One medium sized earthquake and the Mosques could be totally
destroyed clearing the way for the temple to be built in its rightful
The Pope is attempting to declare Jerusalem the first
"international city" setting the stage for a multinational army
encampment around Jerusalem.
The Pope is planning closer ties with Jerusalem by establishing a
Vatican Embassy. Visits by the Pope are planned beginning in the year
2000, to meet with Jewish and Moslem leaders in Jerusalem to discuss
greater cooperation between the three religions.
A German now heads the EU bank, now the most powerful economic
force in the world.
German Neo Nazis organizations are making a major international
comeback, in some regions, capturing as much as 30% of the vote.
The Internet has been established, using telephone lines and
satellites. It will finally enable the gospel be preached and
published to all nations and all peoples, faster than the world’s
population can grow.