Under the rule of Britain, the Great Famine hit in 1876, devastating southern and southeastern India. In its second year it spread north, killing even more. Prior, in 1873 a famine struck, but major loss of life was avoided by the British local government by spending a huge amount of money to import grain and look after the starving. Harshly criticized for this expenditure, when the next famine reared its head, those in charge took a hands off approach. Caused by an extended period of drought, the price of rice skyrocketed, and the aid offered by the government wasn't nearly enough. Their idea of relief was allowing people to work for a full day without breaks or shade, and give them less food than they needed to survive. Consequently, millions died of preventable starvation.