As part of a campaign to combat the devastating effects of the desert locust outbreak in East Africa, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced on Thursday that the European Union had donated €11m in aid for the region.
“The majority of East African countries have been affected by the outbreak, which has now been labelled a humanitarian crisis. For Kenya it’s the worst infestation since 1950. In Somalia and Ethiopia, where the approximately 20 million people are already experiencing food insecurity, things are not looking any better with the neighbouring countries experiencing their worst infestation for the past 25 years.
Africa is however not alone. Swarms have been reported in the Persian Gulf over the past week and have made their way to the likes of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Iran. According to the FAO, the desert locust is considered the most destructive migratory pest in the world, with a small swarm capable of devouring the same amount of food as 35 000 people in one day.
Despite having received €47m in donations thus far, the FAO is still searching for an additional €78m in aid for the region to provide farmers in Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia - whose pastures and croplands have been severely affected by the pests- with farming and veterinary care packages. - Bjorn Vorster