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US Official Visits Ethiopia to Assess Drought Impact

A top U.S. aid official is visiting Ethiopia this week to assess effects of the drought there.

The U.S. Agency for International Development says assistant administrator Michael Hess will evaluate local and international response to the prolonged drought. It says he plans to visit sites in the southern towns of Butajira and Gode.

The agency estimates the drought has affected 2.6 million people in Ethiopia and more than five million others in Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti.

The United States has provided more than $150 million in food, water and other humanitarian aid to Horn of Africa countries since last October. Thirty-three million dollars has gone to Ethiopia, where the U.S. government says it is the largest donor of food assistance.

The agency says some areas have received above normal rains this month, but that it is too early to tell whether the rain will make up for the accumulated shortfall.