The head of the U.S. Agency for International Development has announced $97 million dollars in emergency assistance to Ethiopia to combat the devastating effects of a drought brought on by the El Nino climate phenomenon.

The seasonal warming over the Pacific Ocean has caused a serious drought across eastern and southern Africa and particularly hard hit is Ethiopia — Africa's second most populous country with 94 million people.

USAID administrator Gayle Smith, in a briefing Sunday at the Africa Union's annual summit, said more funds are needed to provide adequate assistance.

The announcement comes as the U.N. has issued an appeal for $1.4 billion in humanitarian aid to get emergency food rations to some 11 million people affected by the drought.