Desert locusts are destroying tens of thousands of hectares of crops and grazing land in Somalia in the worst invasion in 25 years… And the infestation is likely to spread further.
The locusts have already damaged about 70,000 hectares (173,000 acres) of land in Somalia and neighboring Ethiopia.
If this situation persists, it could threaten food supplies and the livelihoods of farming communities in both countries.
The locust plague is far more serious than the FAO earlier projected.
It has been made worse by unseasonably heavy rainfall and floods across East Africa that have killed hundreds of people in the past several months.
Moreover, officials are slow to respond to the emergency and many families living far away from the capital cities haven’t so far received help from their respective governments. Political instabilities also hinder international organizations to properly work on-site.
Some farmers even won’t have enough to feed their families: “I was supposed to get up to 3,000 kg of teff (a cereal grass) and maize this year, but because of desert locusts and untimely rains I only got 400 kg of maize and expect only 200 kg of teff. This is not even enough to feed my family!” he said.
An average swarm will destroy crops that could feed 2,500 people for a year, the FAO said. But this is an unprecedented, biblical locust swarm that destroys everything on its path.