Africa

Ethiopia faces new drought, seeks urgent aid for 5 million

  • Sara Alisio and her one-month old child Molide Kelbi wait for food and water in the Warder district in the Somali region of Ethiopia, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017. Ethiopia is struggling to counter a new drought in its east that authorities say has left 5.6 million people in urgent need of assistance. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

    Sara Alisio and her one-month old child Molide Kelbi wait for food and water in the Warder district in the Somali region of Ethiopia, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017. Ethiopia is struggling to counter a new drought in its east that authorities say has left 5.6 million people in urgent need of assistance. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)  (The Associated Press)

  • An elderly women waits for food aid in the Warder district in the Somali region of Ethiopia, Saturday Jan. 28, 2017. Ethiopia is struggling to counter a new drought in its east that authorities say has left 5.6 million people in urgent need of assistance. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

    An elderly women waits for food aid in the Warder district in the Somali region of Ethiopia, Saturday Jan. 28, 2017. Ethiopia is struggling to counter a new drought in its east that authorities say has left 5.6 million people in urgent need of assistance. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)  (The Associated Press)

  • Basherow Hassen, a mother of four, waits for food aid with her twin children in the Warder district in the Somali region of Ethiopia, Saturday, Jan. 28 2017. Ethiopia is struggling to counter a new drought in its east that authorities say has left 5.6 million people in urgent need of assistance. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

    Basherow Hassen, a mother of four, waits for food aid with her twin children in the Warder district in the Somali region of Ethiopia, Saturday, Jan. 28 2017. Ethiopia is struggling to counter a new drought in its east that authorities say has left 5.6 million people in urgent need of assistance. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)  (The Associated Press)

Ethiopia is struggling to counter a new drought in its east that authorities say has left 5.6 million people in urgent need of assistance.

U.N. humanitarian chief Stephen O'Brien visited the remote region on Saturday, saying that "these people are really struggling to survive." He cautioned, however, against "dramatizing by saying this may degenerate into famine."

Last year's drought left 10.2 million people hungry and killed several hundred thousand of the animals that the local pastoralists depend on for their livelihood.

For this drought, Ethiopia's government is appealing for $948 million from the international community. The country's disaster prevention chief, Mitiku Kassa, says the government has allocated than $47 million.

The charity Save the Children warns that malnourished refugees are arriving from neighboring Somalia as well, compounding the crisis.