THE LONGEST recorded case of survival without food and water is 18 days, according to the Guinness World Records. This record is held by an 18-year-old Austrian named Andreas Mihavecz in 1979. The fact was revealed yesterday by senior public relations manager of Guinness World Records North America Inc, Jamie Panas Antoniou, in an e-mailed response to queries by the Express about the official record for a human surviving without both food and water. Local environmentalist Dr Wayne Kublalsingh claims to be currently engaged in a hunger strike, surviving without food and water.
Today marks day 99 of Kublalsingh’s second hunger strike which started on September 17. Kublalsingh’s first hunger strike ended on December 4, 2012 after 21 days. Kublalsingh embarked on both hunger strikes as a means of persuading the Government to change the proposed route for the Debe to Mon Desir section of the Solomon Hochoy Highway extension to Point Fortin. Neither has replaced Mihavecz’s official record. Because of how long this hunger strike has lasted many have questioned the validity of Kublalsingh’s claims. Antoniou said the Guinness World Record for someone surviving without food and water has remained the same for over 35 years.
“He (Mihavecz) was put into a holding cell on 1 April 1979 in a local government building in Höchst, Austria, but totally forgotten by the police,” Antoniou stated. “On 18 April 1979, he was discovered close to death,” Antoniou added. Antoniou stated the longest period anyone has gone without solid food is 382 days.
This feat was set by Angus Barbieri of the United Kingdom in 1966. “The longest period for which anyone has gone without solid food is 382 days in the case of Angus Barbieri (UK) (b. 1940) of Tayport, Fife who lived on tea, coffee, water, soda water and vitamins in Maryfield Hospital, Dundee, Angus from June 1965 to July 1966,” Antoniou stated. “His weight declined from 214 kg (33 st 10 lb) to 80.74 kg (12 st 10 lb),” Antoniou stated.
Barbieri, 26, lost close to 300 pounds during his period of abstaining from solid food. Kublalsingh has also lost a considerable amount of weight and appears emaciated and feeble. Kublalsingh has often credited his “spirituality” for his ability to abstain from food and water for such a long time. Kublalsingh: I just lasted and lasted
During a question-and-answer interview with Kublalsingh on October 15, the Express raised the issue of doubt surrounding his hunger strike.
Q: There is legitimate doubt about how your body sustains for this long without food and water. How do you explain it? A: When I started, I didn’t think I would go or more than three days. So I myself am surprised that my body keeps going. I have developed some skills, having attended meditation classes, the army, my own reading and listening over the years. On mornings I do some gentle exercises, deep breathing to get oxygen to all the joints.
I meditate out in the garden and pick up some moisture in the air. When I get very, very hungry and desperate, I go into the garden and my mind becomes unimaginably quiet and I get calm. The sun is important. Salt water baths, massages. It’s nothing technical or professional; I just lasted and lasted and lasted. When I sleep I get regenerated. That and bad mind… I think these fellas treat us so shabbily.
‘I FEEL ALMOST CELESTIAL’ ”I didn’t realise so much time had passed,” Kublalsingh said yesterday, referring to the fact that he will tomorrow mark 100 days of the hunger strike. “But to be fair, I did cheat in a way by having drips several times after I collapsed.” Kublalsingh collapsed roughly a month into the hunger strike and was kept for two days at the St Clair Medical Centre, where he was medically rehydrated during that time. He insists, though, that he did not receive any such treatment before or after the 48 hours of hospitalisation.
Kublalsingh said he is at this stage feeling a sense of awesomeness, as his spirit has defeated the needs of his body. “I feel almost like the celestial beings must feel,” Kublalsingh said. “I know that I am not but that is how I feel. All I feel now is my spirit. I feel spiritually invincible, as if I can see anything and do anything. There is absolute calm, absolute peace.” Kublalsingh said there is “no giving up now” and he will continue the hunger strike for as long as his body lasts.