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FAO gets more than $16 million to battle Desert Locust in East Africa

Author: Daniel Danis | Published: Friday, July 10, 2020

FAO says East Africa is facing major threat from Desert Locusts. PHOTO//Twitter/FAO/Sven Torfinn

The European Union has contributed more than $16 million to the fight against desert locusts which have devastated crops in East Africa.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization says South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Sudan remain at risk because of heavy spring rains that create ideal conditions for the locusts to breed and spread.

It said the food security situation is already dire for millions of people as a new wave of locusts is emerging in the region.

The agency stated that the new-generation swarms could still provoke a humanitarian crisis as new swarms strike Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Yemen.

The Desert Locust is considered the most destructive migratory pest in the world.

A small swarm covering one square kilometre can eat the same amount of food in one day as 35,000 people.

“The battle against the Desert Locust is a long one and far from over — sustained support is critical if we are going to contain this pest threat,” said QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General.

In February, South Sudan’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security reported the arrival of the first pest in Magwi and Lobone areas, but they reportedly left after destroying crops and vegetation.

In April, another swarm of the desert locusts invaded Magwi County.

FAO said the €15 million equivalent to $16,944,000 will support the already 25 million food-insecure people facing hunger in East Africa before the locust crisis.

“The food security situation is already dire for millions of people,” QU stressed.

According to the recent Integrated Phase Classification reports, more than half of South Sudanese are already facing hunger.

South Sudan said it will cost over 2 billion South Sudanese Pounds to respond to the locust invasion.

The EU made a previous contribution of €11 million to the locust appeal in February.

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