Friday, September 26, 2008

Children eating roots, rats

From Reuters:

LONDON, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Children in Zimbabwe are eating rats and inedible roots riddled with toxic parasites to stave off hunger because of chronic food shortages, an aid agency said on Thursday....

Jacobs said many people in the Zambezi Valley, the poorest and driest area, were now surviving on a vile-tasting, fibrous root called makuri.

"It's got no nutritional value whatsoever. It tastes disgusting and it also has a parasite which attaches to it which is toxic," said Jacobs, who has just returned from the region.

"This is all they have to eat. You see babies eating it and toddlers eating it, and it's not digestible. It creates terrible stomach pains."

People were eating anything to survive, she said. She had come across one child who had died after eating a poisonous root and young children eating tiny rats they caught in their huts....

It should be noted that Children may catch and roast them as snacks...the article doesn't distinguish this from eating due to hunger...
it would be like eating dog here in the Philippines: The rich eat dog as a gourmet item, but the poor just eat dogs because they are available.....

As for roots, during famines, people will eat "famine food"...this includes fruits, tubers, vegetables, etc. I am trying to find what the article means by "makuri"....some roots contain oxalic acid that need to be processed to remove the toxin.

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