Swarms of locusts forced Somalia to declare a national emergency

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A desert locust is seen feeding on a plantation in a grazing land on the outskirt of Dusamareb in Galmudug region, Somalia December 22, 2019. REUTERS/Feisal Omar/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A desert locust is seen feeding on a plantation in a grazing land on the outskirt of Dusamareb in Galmudug region, Somalia December 22, 2019. REUTERS/Feisal Omar/File Photo

Africa’s worst locust plague in decades is threatening the continent at an unprecedented scope. And there’s no telling just how far the ravenous creatures will travel.

Desert locusts are the most destructive of all locust species – known for their speedy growth and enormous appetites. A swarm containing hundreds of millions of locusts can travel 90 miles (144 kilometres) a day, and each insect can eat its own weight in food.

To put it into perspective, an expert told the Wall Street Journal that “a swarm the size of Manhattan can consume as much food in a day as the population of the New York tri-state area.”

The insects have already destroyed hundreds and thousands of acres of crops in East Africa, and the UN is calling for international help to quell the crisis. They fear the numbers could grow 500 times by June and reach 30 different countries.

 

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