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 $20 million donation by the U.S. will be used up by the end of December and he warned of "a major crisis" unless 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, USAID director in Ethiopia, said in October that South Sudan's conflict is exacerbating Ethiopia's food insecurity. Hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese have fled to Ethiopia and live alongside local communities.