East Africa Locust Infestation
Kenya - The desert locusts have swarmed in Kenya from Somalia and Ethiopia, destroying farmlands. Ravenous swarms threaten the entire East Africa subregion. FAO is scaling up its emergency response with a massive, border-spanning campaign needed to combat locust upsurge in East Africa. © FAO/Sven Torfinn
The ongoing Desert Locust crisis that hit the Greater Horn of Africa earlier this year is re-escalating, particularly in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, as widespread breeding and new swarms are starting to form. This is posing a major threat to food security and livelihoods as much of the region is heading into the main agricultural season. This is a region that is already facing high levels of food insecurity – with almost 25 million people in affected countries already severely acutely food-insecure. Government aerial and ground locust control operations are ongoing, with support from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), but they need to be further scaled up. Desert locust are considered the most destructive migratory pest in the world. Hundreds of thousands of hectares, including cropland and pasture, have already been affected.
The locusts have also reached Djibouti, Eritrea, Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan and South Sudan, Yemen, Iran and Iraq and Pakistan.
The FAO issued a locust appeal for US$153 million to support the response in ten countries. As of 27 March, $110.6 million had been pledged. Since operations began, FAO has treated 368,000 hectares of land in aerial and ground control operations. Although the impact of COVID-19 is already being felt on the locust response - with deployment of surge personnel delayed or hindered and possible supply chain ruptures, in particular related to pesticides – Governments and FAO are doing all they can to maintain and ramp-up operations at this time of critical need. Funding is urgently required for control operations and livelihoods support.
Press release: CERF releases $10 million for locust response
Exposure: The locust crisis in numbers