WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Gayle Smith announced today that the United States is dispatching a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to Ethiopia to help avert a crisis triggered by El Niño. The drought follows successive poor rainy seasons and is one of the worst to hit the country in decades. The DART, an elite team of disaster experts, will provide technical assistance to the Government of Ethiopia, conduct humanitarian assessments, and coordinate with the Ethiopia Government and humanitarian organizations on the ground to bring vital humanitarian aid - including emergency food assistance, seeds to plant new crops, safe drinking water, and nutrition treatments - to those in need. Administrator Smith also announced $4 million in drought-tolerant seeds that will help ensure that over 226,000 households can grow additional life-saving food in the coming months.


Working with the Government of Ethiopia, the United Nations, and other partners, USAID has mounted an early and robust response that includes scaling up humanitarian assistance and modifying development programs to meet the immediate needs of those most impacted. The El Niño weather phenomenon is affecting multiple regions around the world, and the impact in Ethiopia has inflicted a particularly severe drought.

The United States has provided more than $532 million in humanitarian assistance to reach more than 4 million Ethiopians since October 2014, including emergency food assistance, nutrition and health support, and the provision of safe drinking water. USAID has tapped into pre-positioned relief commodities to help meet increased humanitarian needs and provide support to the United Nations to jump-start the pipeline of relief supplies. Additionally, USAID has activated emergency funds in development programs to help households meet their immediate needs without selling assets-such as livestock-that provide a source of income and nutrition.

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