Ethiopia's government is calling for international assistance to help feed 8.2 million people after erratic rains devastated crop yields.

Climatic shocks are common in Ethiopia and often cause poor or failed harvests that lead to acute food shortages.

Mitiku Kassa, secretary of the Ethiopian Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Committee, said the government has allocated $192 million for food and other aid and is appealing for $596 million in aid from the international community for the remainder of 2015.

John Aylieff, an official in Ethiopia with the U.N.'s World Food Program, described the situation as "incredibly serious," saying Ethiopia needs the international community to weigh in to contain the worst effects of El Nino conditions.