Huge swarms of desert locusts been destroying vegetation forcing farmers into desperate measures.
East Africa’s battles devastating locust swarms
There’s growing alarm in East Africa about huge swarms of desert locusts which are spreading across the region.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation says the crisis threatens food security across the region.
It’s the worst invasion of desert locusts in the Horn of Africa in 25 years, and in Kenya for 70 years.
Aerial spraying is going on in Kenya and Ethiopia.
The United Nations has released US$10 million from its Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to intensify the response to the desert locust swarms devastating parts of East Africa.
The money will go to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to fund increased pesticide aerial spraying operations, the only effective means to reduce the swarm numbers, according to the organisation.
The insects, prevalent in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia, have devastated supplies in communities already battling food-security because of drought.
“This devastating locust outbreak is starting to destroy vegetation across East Africa with alarming speed and ferocity. Vulnerable families that were already dealing with food shortages now face the prospect of watching as their crops are destroyed before their eyes,” said UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock.
The swarms were exacerbating the impacts of climate change already being felt in the region, he added.
In Ethiopia, where floods have already affected the harvest, the insects had destroyed hundreds of square kilometers of vegetation in the Amhara and Tigray regions.
The FAO said the infestation was the worst of its kind in 25 years for Ethiopia and Somalia, and the worst Kenya had experienced in 70 years.