The Food and Agriculture Organization warns of devastating effects as a new wave of locusts prepares to sweep across eastern Africa; There are fears that resources will be extremely limited to battle the locusts due to the current global pandemic of COVID-19.
Over the last several months, eastern Africa, Asia, and even Iran have been dealing with the crippling effects of an overwhelming number of locusts plaguing their respective regions. With a new wave of locusts mounting and heading for eastern Africa (which is said to be up to twenty times larger than the previous wave), there are growing concerns as to how they will combat what’s coming.
With the current COVID-19 global pandemic stealing the attention of the world as well as its funding, resources to combat this new wave of locusts are becoming more and more limited. Since January 2020, the UN has requested over $130 million to fight the issue. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is now warning that this number could increase nearly twenty times in the coming months.
Earlier this week, the FAO explained the sequence of events and issued their strong warning, stating, “The current situation in East Africa remains extremely alarming as hopper bands and an increasing number of new swarms form in northern and central Kenya, southern Ethiopia, and Somalia. This represents an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods because it coincides with the beginning of the long rains and the planting season.
Although ground and aerial control operations are in progress, widespread rains that fell in late March will allow the new swarms to mostly remain, mature and lay eggs while a few swarms could move from Kenya to Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia. During May, the eggs will hatch into hopper bands that will form new swarms in late June and July, which coincides with the start of the harvest.”
To make matters worse, reports from early 2020 explained that even when the people have access to pesticides, when the locusts die, they leave a massive mess on the ground; literally piles of locusts as the people are faced with the problem of what to do next.
World Vision’s Joseph Kamara told the Christian Post that “A swarm eats more than elephants in terms of quantity. And that’s just one swarm. So, if each locust lays about 900 eggs, you can imagine what that means.”