US aid chief Samantha Power will visit Ethiopia next week to press for humanitarian access into conflict-battered Tigray as fears of famine grow, it was announced Thursday.
Power will meet officials in Addis Ababa to "press for unimpeded humanitarian access to prevent famine in Tigray and meet urgent needs in other conflict-affected regions of the country," the US Agency for International Development said in a statement.
Power will also travel to Sudan on her trip starting Saturday as Western powers seek to support the civilian-backed transitional government after decades of authoritarian rule, USAID said.
The United Nations has warned that food rations in the Tigrayan capital Mekele could run out this month if more aid is not allowed in.
All available routes into Tigray are impeded by restrictions or insecurity following an attack on a World Food Programme convoy earlier this month.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in November launched an offensive in Tigray in response to attacks by the region's then ruling party against federal army camps.
The war took a stunning turn last month when the forces of the Tigray People's Liberation Front took back Mekele, with rebels then launching a new offensive.
Power, a former journalist who held senior positions under former president Barack Obama, is known for her advocacy of humanitarian concerns and often reflects on the failure to prevent the Rwandan genocide in 1994.