East Africa: Dangerous Locusts Invade East Africa

Addis Ababa — THE world's most dangerous migratory pest has swarmed some East African countries, ravaging crops and leaving millions vulnerable to food insecurity.

Somalia and Sudan are worst affected by the proliferation of the desert locust that has also caused damage in Yemen in the Middle East.

It is feared the locusts, which can fly up to 150 kilometres daily, might wreck the remaining half of the harvest in Somalia.

Four states (out of 18) are most affected by the species in Sudan, where lack of transportation capacity has delayed spraying.

Already, some 6,4 million people are estimated to be food insecure in Sudan while the agricultural season in Darfur is also at risk due to insecurity.

The number of locusts is expected to increase rapidly by the end of August in both countries and reach higher figures than previous years.

Ethiopia is meanwhile taking urgent measures amid the possibility of the locusts flocking the country.

Locusts have been spotted in several regions but at a smaller scale.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources has allocated 19 million birr (R10 million) for the prevention and management of desert locust and other pests.

A group of experts has been deployed to areas where locusts have been spotted.

The ministry also plans aerial spray exercises to halt the insects.

"There is high probability of locusts' breeding and expansion throughout the country. The rain situation this harvest season could create the best opportunity for that," said Weldehawariyat Assefa, Plant Health Director-General.

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