The United States is sending an elite team of disaster experts to respond to Ethiopia’s worst drought in 50 years, it said on Thursday.
Around a dozen members of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) have arrived in Ethiopia to coordinate the U.S. response to the drought.
They will be joined by DART logistics, nutrition, and water, sanitation and hygiene experts in the next few days.
USAID responds to around 65 disasters a year, including the recent Ebola outbreak in WestAfrica and last year’s Nepal earthquakes.
“With the announcement of the DART, we are acting to prevent a major humanitarian crisis and protect Ethiopia’s hard-earned development progress,” USAID’s administrator Gayle Smith said in a statement.
U.S. President Barack Obama visited Ethiopia, a close U.S. ally, on his 2015 trip to the continent of his father’s birth.
He has made food security a priority of his development agenda, saying in 2013 it was a “moral imperative” to end hunger on the world’s poorest continent.
Ethiopia’s government and the United Nations have asked for $1.4 billion to feed 10.2 million Ethiopians – the third largest