The United Nations has released $10 million for aerial pesticides to help fight the ongoing locust outbreak in East Africa. According to a UN spokesperson, the funds will go to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) to help spraying operations, therefore preventing a spillover to more countries.
FAO cites that this outbreak is the worst invasion in the region in 25 years, threatening to worsen food security in the area. Additionally, this invasion is the worst Kenya has seen in 70 years. Currently, over 19 million people already encounter food insecurity, with numbers threatening to grow if the swarms spread.
It is the worst of its kind in 25 years for Ethiopia and Somalia, and the worst Kenya has seen in 70 years. Crops are being wiped out in communities that were already facing food shortages. The outbreak is exacerbating the impacts of climate change already felt in this region.Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General.
Climate change, including erratic weather, accounts for the spread of the locusts in the region. For example, heavy rains in October – December of 2019 could be part of the cause of the current invasion. If left unchecked, the locust invasion could morph into a plague. FAO estimates the swarm of insects to increase until June, requiring as much as $70 million to contain the swarm.
East Africa experienced a similar locust invasion in 2007, in a smaller scale.
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