Favorable weather prolongs locust menace in Horn of Africa: FAO

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Photo taken on Feb. 4, 2020, shows a cloud of locusts flying in Mwingi North, Kenya. Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN secretary-general, said besides Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia were undergoing their worst locust infestation in 25 years. (Xinhua/Fred Mutune)
Photo taken on Feb. 4, 2020, shows a cloud of locusts flying in Mwingi North, Kenya. (Xinhua/Fred Mutune)

Locusts remain a major threat to the Horn to Africa due to favorable weather conditions, Keith Cressman, a senior locust forecasting officer at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation (FAO) said on Wednesday.

Cressman observed that while plenty of efforts have been done in the last year to fight the locusts, the current weather in the region favors the insects.

“We have not seen a break in the weather pattern. We had a cyclone in December. Cyclones normally don’t occur in the region during the period, but this is the second year in a row that this is happening and it is favoring the insects,” he said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

The occurrence of cyclones, he noted, means the failure of seasonal rains and the presence of strong winds that carry the locusts from one region to another.

“We still have the challenge to manage the locusts to reduce their impact on food security but we are not worse off. For 2021, we need 80 million U.S. dollars to control the insects,” said Cressman.

In the Horn of Africa, the locusts have invaded Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Somalia and Ethiopia and have also spread to Pakistan and India in South West Asia.

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