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Indian Famine (1896–1902)

  • By: Nibedita Shankar Ray-Bennett
  • In: Encyclopedia of Disaster Relief
  • Edited by: K. Bradley Penuel & Matt Statler
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Policy (general)

The famines of 1896–97 and 1899–1900 in India affected almost the entire subcontinent, causing severe distress, debility, and mortality. Unlike the 1876–78 famine, which was largely localized, these famines were widespread and occurred due to an unprecedented shortage of food grains and escalating prices.

At that time, these famines were officially described as the most disastrous famines of the 19th century due to their extent and severity. The famine of 1896–97 affected Bihar, Bengal, Bombay Deccan, the Deccan districts of the Madras Presidency, the North West Provinces and Oudh, the Central Provinces, the Punjab, and Burma. It was estimated the famine tract covered an area of 224,828 square miles and affected a population of 62.4 million. The highest numbers of deaths (745,376) was recorded in Bombay, ...

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