Worst Locusts Outbreak East Africa Has Seen In 25 Years

Most of East Africa is currently facing a locusts outbreak, this is the worst Somalia and Ethiopia have experienced in 25 years. In Kenya, it is the worst invasion in 70 years.

“This current invasion of desert locust is significantly larger in magnitude and scale than previously experienced in Kenya and across East Africa,” said Dr. Stephen Njoka, the Director General of Desert Locust Control Organization.

Climate change contributed to the irregular weather conditions in 2019 which included heavy rains in October and December, this created prefect breeding conditions for the desert locust who swarm across the Red Sea from Yemen.

UN was already warning that the infestation could spread from Ethiopia in November.

Locusts can travel 93 miles a day, and each adult can eat its weight in food in the same time span. A small swarm can eat enough food to feed 35,000 people in 24 hours, and the locusts have already infested around 172,973 acres of land in Kenya.

Heavy rains in East Africa made 2019 one of the region’s wettest years on record, said Nairobi-based climate scientist Abubakr Salih Babiker. He blamed rapidly warming waters in the Indian Ocean off Africa’s eastern coast, which also spawned an unusual number of strong tropical cyclones off Africa last year.

Heavy rainfall and warmer temperatures are favorable conditions for locust breeding and in this case the conditions have become “exceptional,” The Associated Press explained.

According to the UN, about $70m is needed to step up aerial pesticide spraying, the only effective way to combat them. The UN funneled $10 million towards the spraying Wednesday.

Rainy conditions expected in March could cause the locust swarms to grow by a factor of 500 before drier weather is expected in June, the UN said.


Adedayo Laketu

Adedayo Laketu is a creative inventor who's interested in curating a New Age for Africa across all mediums.

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