Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera 10 Feb 2020

What's caused an outbreak of desert locusts in East Africa and South Asia?


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

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.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the launch of a test and trace corps for New York City to investigate coronavirus cases and trace contacts to combat the spread.
The recent coronavirus pandemic is only exacerbating the problems currently facing herders, also known as pastoralists, in Kenya. They've seen their livestock devastated and crops destroyed after the worst locust invasions in 70 years and villagers are bracing themselves for another swarm, 400 times larger if left unchecked.  With less vegetation for grazing, herders can sometimes infringe on neighbours land, causing violent conflict. We follow Josephine Ekiru, a peace-builder, who is trying to help as economic insecurity caused by the pandemic fuels attacks
Record floods have devastated East Africa this rainy season with almost half a million people displaced.
Lake Victoria is Africa's largest lake and connects Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.
It is at its highest recorded level.

Al Jazeera's Malcolm Webb reports on what that means for the communities living around the lake.
A second wave of desert locusts has descended on East Africa. Estimates indicate it will be 20 times worse than the swarms that made their way through the region two months ago. The UN says the locusts present "an unprecedented threat" to food security and livelihoods. The coronavirus exacerbates the logistical challenges of fighting the plague, as DW's Sella Oneko reports from Kenya.

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