This chapter examines the pivotal event in the history of Bangladesh’s development project: the famine of 1974. It examines different explanations for the famine, and concludes that under the post-war conditions, at a time of Cold War and global economic food crisis, such a crisis was all but inevitable. A combination of floods, an ill-equipped administrative response, and the use of food aid as a Cold War weapon by the US sentenced 1.5 million people—in all, 2 per cent of a population that was already greatly weakened by poverty and war—to death by starvation and its related syndromes.
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