Ethiopia's failed rains, which meteorologists blame on the El Nino weather phenomenon, have created a drought in some areas of the country worse than the 1984 crisis. Back then, water shortages and conflict combined to cause a famine that killed an estimated one million people. In the years since, Ethiopia has transformed under a government that promotes rapid economic development, although it is criticized for limiting many political freedoms. One of its signature schemes is a rural support program designed to keep Ethiopians from starvation. The new drought is putting that model to the test.
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