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Ethiopia Pleads for Help to Feed Refugees

FILE - Humanitarian workers distribute food aid in this image from the U.S. Agency for International Development. The organization says it needs more support to feed refugees.

An Ethiopian official says the country's more than 730,000 refugees could go hungry if $55 million in food aid is not raised by the end of the year.

Ayalew Awoke, deputy director of refugee affairs, said Monday that a U.S. donation of $20 million will be used up by the end of December. He warned of "a major crisis'' unless additional aid comes in.

Ethiopia, which currently hosts Africa's largest refugee population, is experiencing a major drought in its eastern and northeastern areas and has appealed for $596 million to feed its own population.

Dennis Weller, director of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Ethiopia program, said in October that South Sudan's conflict is exacerbating the Ethiopia’s food insecurity. Hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese have fled to Ethiopia and live alongside local communities.

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