It sounds very much like the description of a Volcanic/Nuclear/Impact Winter.
They are all different ways of causing the same end result which is the injection of massive amounts of ash and dust into the upper atmosphere. This screens off the sun and causes global temperature to drop and plants to stop growing properly.
The result is massive famine and starvation, cold weather, and permanently overcast skies.
The different names depend on whether it is caused by a massive Volcanic Eruption, Nuclear Wars, or an Asteroid Impact. Each of those would have different other side effects:
Nuclear: There would be high levels of background radiation increasing mutations and miscarriages. Some areas would become dangerous to visit.
Asteroid: Depending on the location of the strike expect massive Tsunami's and Tidal Waves to sweep the world, the impact area itself would be obliterated and the resulting firestorm would cover a huge portion of the globe.
Volcanic: This would have the smallest immediate side effects (although expect a lot of poisonous gas, sulfur, lava flows, etc. It could also last the longest though since the dust from the other two options would start clearing after a few years while the volcanoes could keep erupting for far longer.
There's always the option of combined events as well, for example an asteroid impact on one side of the world could trigger a volcanic eruption at the other side once the shockwave reaches.