The severe famine which will take place during the Tribulation is given several scriptures in Revelation 6, including even more detail than the scriptures involving warfare and death:
"When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say 'Come!' I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice...saying, "A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine." (Revelation 6:5-6).
According to the NIV Study Bible, we see the following commentary on this passage:
"wheat...barley. One quart of wheat would be enough for only one person. Three quarts of the less nutritious barley would be barely enough for a small family. Famine had inflated to at least ten times their normal level."
That takes us to recent news, and it involves a worsening drought problem across the world. It strikes a casual reader that drought is becoming a significant story. Could the current drought problem worsen to dramatic levels as we approach the Tribulation? And, could the famine we are witnessing end up accounting for the severe famine that will occur during the Tribulation?
The articles below include several recent stories and then a few more going back less than a year in the news:
Drought plagues China's major wheat regions
A two-month drought is plaguing China's major wheat production areas, according to local agricultural and drought relief authorities.
The four drought-hit provinces of Henan, Anhui, Shandong and Hebei produce over half of the country's summer grain, 90 percent of which is wheat, and account for 22 percent of China's arable land.
Since October, lack of rain and high temperatures has restricted wheat growth in the provinces.
In Henan, China's biggest grain-producing province, the dry weather has affected some 730,000 hectares of wheat crops, accounting for 10 percent of the province's total arable land.
In neighboring Anhui Province, more than 667,000 hectares of wheat crops were affected, according to the provincial agricultural work committee.
New Zealand declares drought zone
The New Zealand government has declared part of North Island a medium level drought zone this week and agriculture minister David Carter said more regions were likely to join it following the driest spring over the whole country since records began.
The declaration triggers government funds for rural trusts that provide farm management advice and counselling for affected farmers. Matt Long, Federated Farmers' Northland provincial president, said many were getting to their wits' end as the region moved into the second consecutive drought summer.
Experts fear Texas heading into another drought
State climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon told the Houston Chronicle that continuing dry weather is likely to persist at least into the spring. Nielsen-Gammon, who's also a professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University, says "it's probably going to get worse before it gets better."
The U.S. Drought Monitor on Thursday indicated 85 percent of Texas is between abnormally dry and in extreme drought, compared to about 29 percent a year ago.
"Alarming" Amazon Drought
Hard-hit by a months-long drought, a waterway within the Amazon Basin trickles to a halt in Manaus, Brazil (see map), on November 19.
The Negro River, a major tributary of the Amazon River, dropped to a depth of about 46 feet (14 meters)—the lowest point since record-keeping began in 1902.
About 60,000 people in the Amazon have gone hungry as falling river levels paralyzed transport and fishing. Millions of dead fish have also contaminated rivers, leading to a shortage of clean drinking water, the Reuters news agency reported.
Drought brings Amazon tributary to lowest level in a century
One of the most important tributaries of the Amazon river has fallen to its lowest level in over a century, following a fierce drought that has isolated tens of thousands of rainforest inhabitants and raised concerns about the possible impact of climate change on the region.
The drought currently affecting swaths of north and west Amazonia has been described as the one of the worst in the last 40 years, with the Rio Negro or Black river, which flows into the world-famous Rio Amazonas, reportedly hitting its lowest levels since records began in 1902 on Sunday.
"If this situation continues the state of Amazonas will live in a permanent state of emergency. The changes in people's lives would be horrific."
Kenya's drought crisis: Starving to death
Russia cuts 2010 grain crop forecast over drought
A key lobby group on Monday became the latest body to downgrade Russia's 2010 crop prospects as the worst drought in 130 years threatened harvests in the major wheat exporter, sending key wheat prices to 22-month highs.
While markets have focused intently on Russia, concerns have also started to creep on in the fate of crops in world number 4 exporter Australia, with wheat in a key state under threat from dry conditions.
Australia concerns arise
Meanwhile wheat crops in Western Australia, the country's top exporting state were also under threat from dry weather but favourable conditions elsewhere could make up for any crop loss, analysts said.
Any indication that the crop in Australia, the world's fourth largest wheat exporting nation, is endangered could put further pressure on world market prices.
Last week, SovEcon said the drought might cut the Russian grain production even further -- to less than 70 million tonnes.
Cuban drought hits water supplies
A severe drought that has struck Cuba for the past eighteen months is affecting the water supplies of more than half a million people.
Many in Havana spend much time carrying water in buckets from government trucks because their taps have dried up.
Reservoir levels are low and farming has been badly hit.
Climate experts have warned that droughts in Cuba have become more frequent and intense in recent decades.
Russian Drought Spurs Worldwide Food Price Hikes
Severe drought in Russia has sent world food prices 5 percent higher in recent months, according to a new report by the United Nations
Today police in the capital, Maputo, opened fire on a mob of several thousand people -- some of them throwing stones -- in what officials said was an unsanctioned protest over the rise in food and commodity prices.
The Associated Press reported that at least seven people were killed, including at least two children. The cost of bread in the southeastern African country has risen 25 percent in the past year, the AP reported, amid other commodity price increases.
Central team arrives to assess drought in Orissa
Drought could hit world's populous areas: study
These articles just cover the past several months alone. Additionally, one can easily see the wide and diverse regional areas that have already been hit by severe droughts. Food prices will continue to rise, as they have been due to inflation and these droughts which is affecting world-wide food production and distribution.
It is hard to imagine that this situation will improve as we approach the Tribulation, and at that point this world-wide problem will increase significantly.
"A quart of wheat for a days wages." Enough to feed one person for one day. What we are now seeing across the world is just the beginning.