FAO warns worsening locust situation in Ethiopia, Horn of Africa region

ADDIS ABABA: The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned desert locust swarms will likely worsen the situation in Ethiopia and across the Horn of Africa region.

In its latest fact-sheet, FAO stated desert locust swarms are likely to affect large parts of Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia in the coming days.

“The situation is expected to deteriorate as more swarms and another generation of breeding commences from the Red sea to Somalia, which could be supplemented by swarms coming from Yemen,” FAO stated.

“This is likely to threaten Kenya where swarms could arrive in the north from mid-November onwards,” FAO further stated.

The FAO also disclosed northern and eastern parts of Ethiopia are expected to be significantly affected by the desert locust swarms in the coming days.

“More immature swarms have formed in Ethiopia’s Afar region in the northeast along the western side of the Rift valley,” the FAO disclosed.

“While a few swarms have moved into adjacent areas of Ethiopia’s northern Amhara and Tigray region highlands, many of the swarms have moved southeast across the rift valley to Ethiopia’s Harar highlands and down south to Ethiopia’s Somali region,” the FAO statement further said.

On Sunday, Ethiopia disclosed plans to import aerial spry planes to battle a locust invasion that has affected large parts of the eastern African country.

According to the Ethiopian government, a locust invasion has affected large parts of Amhara, Oromia, Tigray, Somali, Afar regional states as well as the Dire Dawa city administration.

Large parts of Ethiopia are currently affected by a locust invasion, the worst in decades which has posed an unprecedented food security in the east African country.

The Ethiopian government and international humanitarian partners have already warned the combined effects of COVID-19 and locust invasion are creating a humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia.

They warned swarms of multiplying desert locusts have been destroying pastures and crops, leading to further food insecurity.

Ethiopia has as of Wednesday morning confirmed 85,718 COVID-19 cases and 1,305 COVID-19 related deaths.

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