Worst locust infestation in decades
Swarms of desert locusts are spreading rapidly in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti and Eritrea following prolonged periods of drought and heavy rain in East Africa and South Sudan and Uganda are also threatened. These countries are at risk of suffering the worst locust infestation in decades. The dimensions and destructive potential of the insect swarms are unprecedented. The swarms in Kenya stretch over an area of around 2400 square kilometres and are travelling up to 150 km per day. They are destroying crops and pastureland. There is a risk of famine in the region.
New and larger swarms feared
The locusts are currently in a reproductive phase and experts fear that new and much larger swarms could develop in April. A further spread of the insects could lead to widespread famine, displacement and conflicts over the few remaining crop yields. Even before the infestation, around 20 million people were at risk of famine due to periodic droughts and floods.
Two million euros for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
The affected countries cannot tackle this infestation alone but need support from the international community. The Federal Foreign Office has therefore made available two million euros to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) at short notice for emergency aid measures to cope with the infestation.
The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that financial contributions totalling 70 million US dollars will be required. The aim here is to step up monitoring of the soil and air and to introduce measures to protect and secure livelihoods (e.g. with cash assistance).
Information from the FAO on the current situation is available here.