The African Development Bank (AfDB) said Thursday it has approved 1.5 million U.S. dollars emergency relief grant to assist nine eastern African countries to curb the spread of desert locusts that threaten livelihoods and food security.
AfDB said the funds will be used by Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania to control the spread of the current locust invasion, prevent potential next-generation swarms and to conduct an impact assessment and monitoring to enhance preparedness and awareness.
“A portion of the funds would also be allocated to administrative costs,” the lender said in a statement, noting that the grant will be channeled to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), mandated to mobilize resources on behalf of the African Union.
According to AfDB, Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia have been particularly hard hit by the outbreak and widespread breeding of locusts that are expected to create new swarms in the coming weeks.
“The infestation poses an unprecedented risk to livelihoods and food security in an already fragile region and has caused huge damage to agricultural production,” it said.
In Ethiopia and Somalia, the outbreak is the worst in 25 years, and in Kenya, in 70 years, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Locust swarms are reportedly also threatening Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Sudan and Eritrea.
IGAD is collaborating with the FAO which is leading the coordination of development partner support to provide desert locust invasion control, safeguard livelihoods and to promote early recovery of affected households in eastern Africa.