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US Announces Emergency Aid to Ethiopia's Ogaden Region

The United States says it is providing nearly $19 million in emergency aid for Ethiopia's volatile Ogaden region.

The State Department said Friday Washington is working with the Ethiopian government, international partners and non-governmental organizations in responding to concerns over humanitarian conditions in the eastern region.

The U.S. says most of the $18.7 million will help provide food assistance through the United Nations World Food Program. Some funds also will help pay for health, nutrition, and livelihood programs.

Years of drought, flooding, civil conflict, disease and food shortages have left residents in Ogaden vulnerable to poverty and famine.

Ethiopia's Ogaden, also known as the Somali region, is an oil-rich, but poor area that is ethnically Somali. It has long sought autonomy from Addis Ababa.