In East Africa, a plague of Locusts is so severe that UN officials said this week that 13 million people are facing food insecurity and 10 million are trapped in locust infestations. UN officials on Tuesday called on the international community to act quickly to prevent a humanitarian crisis.
Qu dongyu, director-general of the UN FAO, and Mark Lowcock, UN deputy secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, called on the international community to respond quickly and generously to contain the disaster.
According to the article, the horn of Africa is in the grip of its worst desert locust plague in decades, the worst in 25 years for Ethiopia and somalia, and the worst in 70 years for Kenya. Currently, swarms of locusts have just entered Uganda and Tanzania, less than 50 kilometers from south Sudan. Djibouti and eritrea were also affected. And Oman, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, yemen and Pakistan are all battling their own pests.
According to this article, the biggest locust plague in East Africa in decades is linked to climate change. As warmer oceans bring more cyclones, they create more favorable breeding conditions for locusts. Desert locusts are considered the world’s most destructive migratory pests, the report said. A locust can travel up to 150 kilometers and eat about two grams of its own weight per day. If there were a swarm of locusts the size of New York City, they would eat as much in a day as the entire population of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Local and national governments across East Africa, as well as agencies affiliated with the United Nations, have responded to the surge. The United Nations office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs has released $10 million from the central emergency relief fund to support expanded air disaster preparedness operations.
In addition, the United Nations food and agriculture organization is urgently seeking us $76 million from donors and other organizations to help affected countries combat locust outbreaks. But as the locusts spread, the need for aid may rise.
The article called for pest control to be brought down before the rainy and planting seasons begin in early march. If unchecked, East Africa’s locust population could increase 500 times by June when rains come as expected. The international community should respond quickly and generously to seize the opportunity to contain this wave.