Locust invasion threatens children’s food supplies

Desert locusts

Desert locusts

from RAJI BASHIR in Khartoum, Sudan
KHARTOUM, (CAJ News) THE food supplies of some of the most vulnerable children and families in South Sudan are under threat as massive swarms of desert locusts invade the country.

Areas towards South Sudan’s border with Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda are worst affected.

“Our team in South Sudan has been watching the devastating progress of the desert locusts across the Horn of Africa in despair,” said Rama Hansraj, Save the Children’s Country Director in South Sudan.

Hansraj expressed fear that the situation in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, which was already serious, would be magnified if the locusts reached South Sudan.

The official pointed out last year, South Sudan had a prolonged drought, followed by floods, which displaced thousands of people and destroyed hundreds of homes, while the country was still reeling from years of conflict.

“A swarm of locusts could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back,” Hansraj said.

The envoy called on donors to increase their funding for community resilience programming and to support community-led surveillance and preparedness.

South Sudan has been frequently beset by conflict since it gained independence in 2011.

The current locust outbreak is expected to continue until June 2020 due to anticipated ongoing favourable conditions for locust reproduction.

Climate shocks remain a driving factor for acute food insecurity in the Horn of Africa and continues to severely affect several countries in the region.

Even without the locusts, it is projected that more than 1.3 million children aged under five will suffer from acute malnutrition in 2020 including close to 292,000 from severe acute malnutrition.

– CAJ News

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