The only fully canon reference to the Hebitians is in the episode you've mentioned, "Chain of Command, Pt II".
MADRED : I understand that you are a student of archaeology. Did you know that Cardassia boasts some of the most ancient and splendid
ruins anywhere in the galaxy?
PICARD : I know that the burial vaults of the First Hebitian civilization are said to be magnificent.
MADRED : Apparently when they were first unearthed, two hundred years ago, they were. The burial vaults contained unimaginably
beautiful artifacts made of jevonite -- a rare, breathtaking stone.
But most of those objects are gone.
PICARD : What happened to them?
Madred smiles slightly, shrugs.
MADRED : What happens to impoverished societies... the tombs were plundered, priceless treasures stolen... a few were preserved in
museums... but even those were eventually sold in order to pay for our
It's pretty clear from the dialogue that the Hebitians were a culture of Cardassians that predated the current era (apparently they are among the most ancient in the galaxy, clearly a fatuous statement but one that goes unchallenged by Picard).
There's no specific reference to their culture being destroyed by famine, rather it's their tombs and artifacts that were looted in order to pay for an advancing military and food supplies from offworld.
The closest analogy would be the ancient Egyptian tombs discovered in the Valley of the Kings.
The Hebitians are mentioned (in passing) in other star trek properties, most notably "New Worlds, New Civilisations" which contains a story called "The Glories of the Hebitians".
This story makes it clear that the Hebitians were/are Cardassians.
and in "Terok Nor : Night of the Wolves"
One of them emerged from the house then, and Miras felt her breath
catch. The woman was a Cardassian—or, at least, she had the same
Cardassian cranial ridges, with dark hair and pale gray skin.
She’s Hebitian. The awareness dawned on her like the early light that
played across the fertile land. An ancient ancestor, from the first
great civilization to arise on Cardassia Prime. Miras had been to see
the Hebitian ruins, and she realized suddenly that she was not on
another world, after all. She was in another time.
THere's also an extensive description of Hebitian culture in "A Stitch in Time", written by Andrew J. Robinson (AKA Elim Garak).
I've edited for brevity and relevance:
“Elim, have we ever spoken about the first Hebitians?” Father broke
the silence with a question so strange it almost made me laugh. “No,”
I carefully answered. “What do you know about them?” “They were . . .
the first peoples . . . before the climatic change.” Our school
histories never spent much time talking about the Hebitians. “They had
primitive solar technologies. When the rain forests and grasslands
were taken over by the deserts, they died off. They couldn’t adapt.”
The first Hebitians had an advanced culture that was sophisticated on
every level, Elim. Yes, it was solar-based, but they were able to
support themselves, and this is what most of the planet looked like.”
He waved his tea container to indicate the Grounds. The idea was
almost too outlandish for me. Soft and green places are rare on
“Do you remember, Elim, when I took you to the Hebitian remains
outside Lakarian City?” “Yes.” I was just a boy then, and we had
walked around the crumbling walls and piles of stone and pulverized
tile. I had enjoyed the trip more for its novelty than for anything
else, but I remembered one carving on the side of a wall. It was of a
winged creature with a Cardassian face that was turned toward a sun
disc. Extending down from the creature’s body were several tentacles
that divided just before entering the bodies of people who were
standing on a globe and looking up to the creature. The tentacles went
through the people and into the globe itself. I told this to Father
and he laughed.
“Who were their enemies?” I asked, fascinated and somewhat uneasy with
what Father was saying. “We were.” The paradox stopped me. “But . . .
how is that possible? We . . . we are descended from those people.”