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Photo Facts: Billions of Locusts Swarming through East Africa

“Today locust swarms are as big as major cities and this is getting worse by the day,” warned Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations.

Desert locust swarms have plagued large swathes of East Africa since mid-December.  The swarms were sparked by the unusually high number of cyclones in 2019.East Africa is a region beset by climate- and conflict-related shocks. Millions of people are already acutely food insecure.The Horn of Africa has been hit by the worst invasion of desert locusts in 25 years and in Kenya, it’s the worst in 70 years, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization.These locusts are desert locusts. Desert locusts have a reproduction cycle of three months and mature swarms are laying eggs in vast areas of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.Locusts Swarm in East Africa are the result of extreme weather swings and could prove catastrophic for a region still reeling from drought and deadly floods.The desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria) is a species of locust, a swarming short-horned grasshopper in the family Acrididae.Locusts can decimate cropland, crippling farms and leaving markets empty and livestock with nothing to eat.Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia are being ravaged by the worst locust outbreak in decades.The United Nations has warned if the locust swarms spreading across East Africa are not stopped now it could affect millions of people and cost more than $1bn (£766.5m).East Africa is a region beset by climate and conflict-related shocks. Millions of people are already acutely food insecure. Now they face another major hunger threat in the form of desert locusts. Swarms of desert locusts have damaged tens of thousands of hectares of land so far in Yemen and East Africa, and breeding continues on both sides of the Red Sea. By moving with the winds, desert locusts can travel up to 90 miles (150 kilometers) a day or more.Even without the locust emergency, East Africa has the highest rate of undernutrition, which impacts 30.8% of the population.The locust threat will likely continue across much of the region for the first half of 2020.A swarm of locusts like the one plaguing East Africa can eat enough food in a day to feed 34 million people. East Africa could be on the verge of a food crisis, if swarms of locusts are not controlled. East Africa could be on the verge of a food crisis, if swarms of locusts are not controlled.The locust invasion of more than 360 billion creatures started in the Middle East, moved to Africa, and is now invading South Asia. The main threats are in East Africa and Yemen, as well the Gulf states, Iran, Pakistan and India. 

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