East Africa faces new locust threat
A swarm of desert locusts flies over a ranch near the town on Nanyuki in Laikipia county, Kenya, February 21, 2020. Countries in East Africa are racing against time to prevent new swarms of locusts wreaking havoc with crops and livelihoods after the...more
A lack of expertise in controlling the pests is not their only problem: Kenya temporarily ran out of pesticides, Ethiopia needs more planes and Somalia and Yemen, torn by civil war, can't guarantee exterminators' safety. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
Locust swarms have been recorded in the region since biblical times, but unusual weather patterns exacerbated by climate change have created ideal conditions for insect numbers to surge, scientists say. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
Newly hatched desert locusts are seen on the road in Archers Post, Kenya. Warmer seas are creating more rain, wakening dormant eggs, and cyclones that disperse the swarms are getting stronger and more frequent. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
Samburu men look at a swarm of newly hatched desert locusts on a tree near Archers Post, Kenya. In Ethiopia the locusts have reached the fertile Rift Valley farmland and stripped grazing grounds in Kenya and Somalia. Swarms can travel up to 93 miles...more
If left unchecked, the number of locusts in East Africa could explode 400-fold by June. That would devastate harvests in a region with more than 19 million hungry people, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned. REUTERS/Baz...more
Uganda has deployed the military. Kenya has trained hundreds of youth cadets to spray. Lacking pesticides, some security forces in Somalia have shot anti-aircraft guns at swarms darkening the skies. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
A Samburu man walks through a swarm of newly hatched desert locusts on a road near Archers Post, Kenya. Everyone is racing the rains expected in March: the next generation of larvae is already wriggling from the ground, just as farmers plant their...more
The impact so far on agriculture, which generates about a third of East Africa's economic output, is unknown, but FAO is using satellite images to assess the damage, he said. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
A swarm of locusts flies over a ranch near Nanyuki, Kenya. In Kenya, the region's wealthiest and most stable country, the locusts are mostly in the semi-arid north, although some crops have been affected, said Stanley Kipkoech, a senior official at...more
Newly hatched desert locusts feed of a bush near Archers Post, Kenya. This month, Kenya ran out of pesticide for about a week and a half, he said. Farmers watched helplessly as their families' crops were devoured. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
A man attempts to fend off locusts at a ranch near Nanyuki, Kenya. Locusts have a life cycle of three months. FAO says each generation is an average of 20 times more numerous. When eggs hatch, as they are doing now in northern Kenya, the hungry young...more
Samburu men look at newly hatched desert locusts on a tree near Archers Post, Kenya. After the locusts' first two weeks, they take to the air in swarms so dense they have forced aircraft to divert. A single square kilometer swarm can eat as much food...more
The rains that blessed the region with a bumper crop last year after a prolonged drought also brought a curse. A cyclical weather pattern in the Indian Ocean, intensified by rising sea temperatures, contributed to one of the wettest October-December...more
Locusts hatched in Yemen, largely ignored in the chaos of the civil war. They migrated across the Red Sea to the Horn of Africa, then spread to Sudan, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya. Now they have been spotted in Uganda, South Sudan and...more
The rains awoke the dormant eggs then stronger and more numerous cyclones scattered the insects. Eight cyclones tore across the Indian Ocean in 2019, the highest number in a single year since records began, said Matthews. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
FAO said containing the plague will cost at least $138 million. So far, donors have pledged $52 million. Failure means more hunger in a region already battered by conflict and climate shocks. Since 2016, there have been droughts in Kenya, Somalia,...more
A man attempts to fend off a swarm of desert locusts at a ranch near the town of Nanyuki in Laikipia county, Kenya. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
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