A new wave of locusts is threatening Africa with devastation and starvation, even as the COVID-19 pandemic undermines efforts to fight the locust plague. Parts of the continent already experienced the biggest locust outbreak in 70 years, just weeks before the coronavirus hit. Now a second wave is on its way, with some locust swarms 20 times the size of the first.
Billions of young desert locusts are coming, threatening plants and crops. This second invasion includes more developed locusts known as “young adults,” which are especially voracious eaters.
The Nairobi-based Climate Prediction and Application Center said the locusts are “invading the Eastern Africa region in exceptionally large swarms like never seen before.”
In Ethiopia, six million lives are at risk as the locust outbreak threatens to cause “large-scale crop, pasture and forest-cover loss, worsening food and feed insecurity,” according to the FAO.
And Ethiopia’s agriculture ministry says the problem is worsening as the locust swarms are now appearing in locations where they had not been previously sighted.
Lord, have mercy.