A senior U.N. official says Eritrea needs urgent help from the international community to prevent a looming humanitarian disaster caused by war and years of drought.

U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Kenzo Oshima made the remarks Thursday in Asmara, Eritrea's capital, at the end of a three-day fact-finding visit.

The U.N. official warned that the food situation in Eritrea will be severe if the international community does not respond quickly.

Eritrea was the last stop of Mr. Oshima's 12-day tour of the region. He was there to observe the effects of the drought and mobilize international support for the countries suffering from food shortages.

Last week, U.N. agencies warned that one million people in Eritrea are facing starvation due to severe drought that has stunted cereal crops.

The World Food Program and Agriculture Organization say the cereal harvest in Eritrea will cover only 15 percent of the country's food requirements.