DW News

DW News 25 Jan 2020

Billions of locusts threaten food security in East Africa

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Desert locusts are eating their way across large parts of east Africa in a swarm of enormous proportions. It is the worst loscust outbreak some countries there have seen in 70 years. Researchers say they pose an unprecedented threat to food security in some of the world's most vulnerable countries. Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya are the worst affected, and Uganda is bracing for an invasion too. Authorities have advised citizens to stock up on food as the insects approach the border with Kenya.


The worst locust outbreak has hit East Africa in more then 70 years. Here's the latest.
Millions of people in East Africa are facing an impending disaster - as swarms of locusts are ravaging fields of crops. The UN is calling for urgent action saying the food security of people in the affected region is at risk. More rainfall in the weeks ahead will bring fresh vegetation to feed new generations of the pests.
The insects are the world's most dangerous migratory pests.
Locusts can swarm in their billions and in January, densely enough to force an Ethiopian Airlines plane off course.
Now they're invading Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda and Pakistan.
It is the worst outbreak in twenty five years and for Kenya, seventy years.
The insects can spread fast, and other countries are now at risk.
The swarms have already destroyed tens of thousands of hectares of crops.
Millions of people already short of food, could face famine.
Somalia and Pakistan have declared a state of emergency.
The UN says if action isn't taken fast enough, Somalia's infestation could become 'the most devastating plague in living memory'.
And it's asked for $76 million in aid to help control the outbreak.

So can it be contained, or could it get worse?

Presenter: Adrian Finighan

Guests:
Stephen Njoka, Director of the Desert Locust Control Organization for Eastern Africa.

Cyril Ferrand, Emergency and Resilience Programme Officer at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Crystal Wells, Spokeswoman at the International Committee of the Red Cross, Africa.
The Washington Post traveled to southern Ethiopia, which is facing its worst locust outbreak in generations after an uncommon weather pattern in the Indian Ocean caused relentless rains across East Africa.

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