After Ethiopia, Morris will travel to southern Africa where, as the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy, he will travel to Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia (see box). Some 14.4 million people face starvation in six southern Africa countries.
After touring southern Africa, Morris will also spend two days in Angola, visiting WFP field projects.
During his stay in Ethiopia, Morris will review the emergency response to a drought which threatens the lives of over 11 million people across the country.
He will meet with government officials and donors and relief agencies representatives, and will visit drought-stricken communities in Ethiopia at Dodota Sire and Kechema Village near Nazareth.
Due to drought and erratic rainfall, maize and sorghum crops have failed for many Ethiopian farmers.
These crops are the staple foods for most rural people, accounting for more than 40 percent of the total cereal production in Ethiopia.
A government led multi-agency emergency needs assessment carried out last November estimated the total number of people in need of emergency assistance at 11.3 million people.
The government and the UN jointly appealed for some 1.4 million tonnes of emergency food aid.
The drought has caused numerous livestock deaths, with depleted herds only just surviving.
The pastoralist region of Afar, eastern parts of Oromiya Region lowlands, several areas of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region and northern Somali Region have all been badly.
Africa Hunger Alert
James Morris's five-day stay in Ethiopia is the first leg of a week-long visit to Africa, which will take in five other drought-hit countries: Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia and Angola.
The marathon journey will highlight a hunger crisis threatening 38 million lives across the African continent.
Last month, WFP launched the Africa Hunger Alert campaign, aimed at drawing international attention to this unprecedented emergency.
James Morris in east and southern Africa: 17 Jan - 1 Feb 2003
Ethiopia: 17-21 January
Lesotho: 22-23 January
Zimbabwe: 23-25 January
Malawi: 25-27 January
Zambia: 27-28 January
Angola: 29 January -1 February