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• Yemen, South Sudan, and Somalia are at risk of agriculture deteriorating to the point of an emergency. This article from Migration Policy Institute focuses on the connection between acute food crises and population mobility.
• How can donors help provide resources to international aid organizations with impact on famine relief? Which migration policies might be most effective in alleviating food insecurity?
The synopsis taught in Irish schools of the demographic impact of the Great Hunger that devastated Ireland from 1845-52 is as follows: 1 million dead, 2 million emigrants. Is it a general rule that famines generate mass migration or was Ireland the exception? Remarkably, despite long-standing demographic research into famine and intensive current interest in migration, there is no definitive answer. But there is urgent policy interest in the link between mass starvation and migration. After decades in which famines had declined almost to vanishing point, 2017 and 2018 have witnessed their disturbing return, perhaps most starkly surrounding the war-induced starvation unfolding in Yemen. Meanwhile, Venezuela’s economic collapse and the government's highly selective allocation of food and other essentials are causing unprecedented mass migration to the country’s Latin American neighbors, with reports of severe malnutrition and deaths from starvation.
This article examines the causes and migration patterns of episodes of mass starvation from the 19th century onward and demonstrates the critical need for deeper research on the linkages between famine and migration. Among the unanswered questions: Does migration mitigate starvation or worsen it? Does it precede or follow famine? And how?
Read the full article about famine and migration by Batul Sadliwala and Alex de Waal at Migration Policy Institute.