East Africa locust invasion another deep crisis

Swam of locusts that have caused havoc in destroying crops in East Africa. Photo, supplied

Swam of locusts that have caused havoc in destroying crops in East Africa. Photo, supplied

from SAAD MUSE in Mogadishu, Somalia
MOGADISHU, (CAJ News) WHILE the world’s attention is drawn to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, the unprecedented desert locust invasion across East Africa is worsening.

The invasion since the beginning of the year remains an added threat to food security and livelihoods in several countries.

The Regional Desert Locust Alliance revealed that communities in many of the worst affected areas in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda were already at crisis levels of food insecurity.

Drought and flooding suffered in 2019 are worsening the crisis.

In Somalia alone, the 2020 Humanitarian Needs Overview outlined that 5,2 million people, or 42 percent of the population, needed humanitarian assistance even before the locust invasion.

Significant locust damage to crops and pasture is now expected to be experienced during the agricultural season from March to May.

This would generate an emergency situation for up to 1,8 million additional people.

The lack of food for humans and animals is likely to last until the next harvest in November-to-December 2020.

The Regional Desert Locust Alliance stated that as the global community stepped up responses to COVID-19, efforts to respond to the ongoing locust-related needs must not be undermined.

Amina Abdulla, Director of Concern Worldwide Kenya, said partnerships between governments, agencies and communities were critical in effectively managing the spread of the locusts.

“Communities are always the first responders in any emergency. This cannot be any different,” Abdulla said.

In January, the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) called for $76 million (R1,1 billion) to deal with the locust crisis.

To date, only $33 million (R503 million) has either been received or committed.

– CAJ News

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