I'm writing a scene where 2 characters come across a village ravaged with famine. Where children are malnourished skeletal figures. As one of them makes to give one child a loaf of bread, the other experienced one, forbids it.
His rationale "As soon as we move away, the others (in extreme hunger) won't hesitate to rip apart the child alive to get to that morsel of half-eaten food"
What phrase/word can I use to describe this extreme form of hunger. the best I could come up with is 'ravenous'