Development secretary says she’s fed up with the myth she sits there ‘writing cheques for North Korea’ and announces aid packages for Somalia and Ethiopia

Britain’s foreign aid minister, Priti Patel, has told the Guardian she is fed up with the myth that all she does is sit at her desk “writing cheques to North Korea”, in her most robust response yet to critics of the foreign aid budget.

On a surprise visit to drought-stricken east Africa on Saturday, Patel, the international development secretary, announced a new £60m package for Somalia, and £30m for Ethiopia, saying the sharp rise in numbers of people needing food, water and shelter meant it was critical to stop the food crisis becoming the kind of famine which killed a quarter of a million people in Somalia in 2011.

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