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IGAD asks member states to combat locust invasion

Author: Garang Abraham | Published: Monday, February 10, 2020

Locust feed on a plant. File photo

The Inter-government Authority on Development has called on its member states and neighboring countries to collectively unite their efforts to combat desert locust in the region.

Last month, experts raised an alarm over the unprecedented swarms of locust that pose serious threats to food security and livelihoods in the Horn of Africa.

Locusts are reported to have invaded many countries in the region, mainly Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda.

In February last year, the UN-Food Agricultural Organization issued an alert about the invasion of the desert locusts that was first reported in Yemen.

The locusts then spread to Somali, Ethiopia and Eritrea before crossing into Kenya through Mandera, where they were first sighted.

During the 34th extra-ordinary submit of IGAD heads of state and government held in Ethiopia yesterday, the regional bloc called on its member states to cooperate with the neighboring countries and exert more efforts to fight the desert locust invasion.

“The bloc call upon member states to act collectively through IGAD and joint forces with neighbors and agencies including the Desert Locust Control organization towards total eradication of the pest and address the broader aspects of the climate change in the region,” partly reads a statement.

Locusts cause devastating damage to green vegetation, including crops, pasture and trees.

The locusts travel by wind for at least 150-200km a day.

A swamp of locusts can consume the same amount of food per day as about 20 elephants, or 25 camels or 2,500 people.

A desert locust has a lifespan of about three to four months.

Experts say the government needs to work with local authorities to identify potential breeding habitats and target them for management.

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