Africa is on its way to a ‘catastrophe’ grasshopper when a 40-mile-wide swarm grows 500 times BIGGER
Africa is on its way to a ‘catastrophe’ grasshopper if the 40 mile-wide swarm becomes 500 times larger within four months, as feared, the UN has warned.
The 360 billion grasshoppers are expected to grow rapidly in the coming weeks when predicted rainfall triggers plant growth before their numbers peak in June.
The desert locusts have already decimated vital crops in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya and damaged agricultural land in Djibouti and Eritrea before flying to Uganda and Tanzania this weekend.
One of the swarms – which can count up to 80 million people per square kilometer – was also seen 50 km from the border with South Sudan and is expected to reach the country ‘every day’.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN has warned of an emerging humanitarian crisis as 13 million people face serious food insecurity. Africa is facing its first locust plague since 1989.
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The expected rainfall in the coming months will lead to plant growth and the grasshopper outbreak feeding. The insects usually live lonely, but form swarming social insects when they live close together due to limited food supplies. They are depicted in Puntland, Somalia, on February 4
The swarm of grasshoppers, estimated at around 360 billion, reached the border region of Karamoja, in northeastern Uganda. Pictured above is a forester surrounded by locusts in Nasuulu, Northern Kenya, where crops have been decimated
The swarm started in Eastern Ethiopia and Central Somalia last year before the insects spread across Ethiopia and Kenya. (Pictured: locusts jump over the ground like ants in Somalia on February 5)
Kenyan authorities have deployed pesticides sprayed from planes in a desperate attempt to control the swarm, which could become 500 times larger due to the expected rainfall in the coming weeks. This aircraft was depicted in Nasuulu, Northern Kenya
Keith Cressman, the senior locust forecasting officer of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, said The national yesterday Kenya has had to deal with ‘waves and waves of swarms’ since January.
‘A swarm in one day can eat the same amount of food as everyone here in the three-state region, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York. So don’t take action on time – you see the consequences. “
Uganda held an emergency meeting after the insects were seen and ordered two planes to spray pesticides over the affected area – which is considered the most effective form of control.
Pesticides have also been used in Kenya and Somalia in a desperate attempt to stop the spread of insects, but experts say that the scale of the contamination exceeds local capacity because desert locusts can travel up to 150 km per day.
Photos have shown ground teams at work in Puntland in Somalia, while aircraft sprayed pesticides in the northern Nasuulu region of Kenya.
The locust swarm started in Eastern Ethiopia and Central Somalia before it spread to Kenya and now entered Northeast Uganda (pictured above)
The locust swarm has prompted the UN to warn of an emerging humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa. These locusts are depicted on a rock near Garowe in Puntland, Somalia, on February 5
Keith Cressman, the senior locust swarm predictor at the FAO, said that specially developed prototypes would be tested that could detect swarms via special sensors and adjust their speed and height accordingly.
He said, “No one has ever done this with desert locusts.”
Officials in Kenya say that drones can play an important role due to the limited number of aircraft.
“Every province wants a plane, but we currently have only five and they can only be in one location at a time,” said David Mwangi, head of crop protection at the Ministry of Agriculture in Kenya.
“We’ve never used drones before, but I think it’s worth testing because they can help.”
In Somalia, tackling the problem becomes even more difficult because large areas are threatened or in the hands of the extremist Al-Qaeda group. This makes it difficult or impossible to carry out spraying the locusts from the air of which the experts believe that the only effective regulation is.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, called on Saturday for more help from the rest of the world.
He said: “The UN has made an urgent call for help. I ask the international community to respond quickly and generously to ensure an effective response and control the contamination while we still have the opportunity. “
The swarm of desert locusts, which usually live lonely until a combination of circumstances promotes breeding and leads to massive swarms, began in Eastern Ethiopia and Central Somalia last year before spreading through both countries and traveling to Kenya.
Africa’s last major locust plague swept through the region in 1987 to 89. Above is a group of adult locusts, as seen by their wings, in Nasuulu, Northern Kenya, on February 1
Juvenile locusts depicted swarming over a tree near Garowe, Puntaland, Somalia, on February 4. The next flock of locusts is expected to appear in April when the juveniles mature
Kenya and Somalia have both deployed pesticides in a desperate attempt to control grasshopper numbers and kill young animals, which are expected to develop into winged adults and cause a second swarm in April this year.
Kenyan authorities have sent planes to spray pesticides across areas in the north of the country, while in Somalia pesticide workers are shown wearing protective suits while spraying the insects.
The FAO says that the current invasion is known as a “revival” – when an entire region is hit – if, however, it gets worse and cannot be controlled, in a year or more, it would become a so-called “plague” of locusts.
In the 1900s there were six large desert locust pests, the last one in 1987-1989. The last major increase was in 2005 and, according to the FAO, caused an estimated $ 2.5 billion in crop damage.
The swarm has been named the worst that has hit Kenya for 70 years and the worst that has hit Ethiopia and Somalia for 25 years.
Somalia has also used pesticides to tackle the crisis. These locust workers are depicted in Puntland
Incredible photos show the magnitude of the worst outbreak of desert locusts in Kenya in 70 years, while hundreds of millions of insects leave helpless farmers with a broken heart (pictured in Katitika, Kitui, January 24)
The food and agriculture organization of UN Director-General Qu Dongyu called for urgent funding to help secure the region at the end of January, after having already used $ 15.4 million of the $ 76 million to face the emerging crisis to grab.
The UK Department of International Development has told MailOnline that it has provided “support” for pesticide financing.
The next generation of desert locusts, of which one million can eat enough food for 35,000 in just one day, are expected to be ready to swarm in April, which coincides with the planting season.
Ms. Dongyu warned last month at an informal briefing in Rome: “I hope we can work hard day and night so that people do not lose their crops. Timing and location are crucial. “
FAO Deputy Director General for Climate and Natural Resources, Maria Semedo, warned last month that countries should act “immediately” because “locusts don’t wait.” They will come and they will destroy.
“We have to deal with the emergency situation, but we have to think about means of support and the long term.”
The organization estimates that as many as 12 million people suffer from severe acute food insecurity and many rely on agriculture to survive.
Their locust information service describes the current situation as ‘extremely alarming’ and probably further aggravated by new pests.
The creatures (depicted in the village of Katitika, Kenya, on January 24) invaded the East African country from Somalia and Ethiopia, destroyed agricultural land and threatened an already vulnerable region with devastating hunger
Ndunda Makanga, who spent hours trying to chase the locusts from his farm on Friday, said: “Even cows wonder what’s going on. Corn, sorghum, chickpeas, they ate everything. ‘Pictured: the insects in the village of Katitika
If it rains in March and brings new vegetation to much of the region, the number of fast-growing locusts could grow 500 times before drier weather prevents their spread in June, the United Nations says
A farmer walks through swarms of desert locusts feeding on her crops in the village of Katitika, Kitui
Farmer Theophilus Mwendwa tries to chase away a swarm of desert locusts in the bush near Enziu, Kitui County, 200 km east of the capital Nairobi
The locust swarms had increased considerably in the last month in 13 Kenyan provinces, including Isiolo, Samburu, Wajir, Garissa, Tana River, Marsabit, Laikipia, Mandera, Kitui, Baringo, Meru, Embu and Turkana.
The same provinces have experienced devastating droughts and floods in recent years and more than three million people have experienced extreme levels of food insecurity.
The swarms are destroying pasture for cattle, which will probably destroy the coming planting season.
In Somalia, tens of thousands of hectares have been affected in Somaliland, Puntland and Galmudug (Mudug), while adult swarms hit the Garbahare area near the Kenyan border.
Grasshoppers are also said to travel south to the Gedo region of Somalia and leave a trail of destroyed farms.
Operations are underway in the northeast (Puntland) to control the swarms that continue to move to the central and southern areas.
About $ 54 million is needed to increase aerial spraying, the only effective way to combat them, the UN says. Pictured: near Enziu, Kitui County
A desert grasshopper sits on a tree branch in Katitika village, Kitui province, Kenya. Even a small flock of insects can consume enough food for 35,000 people in one day, said Jens Laerke of the UN humanitarian office in Geneva
Insecurity in some of these sections hinders the efforts to investigate and control the pests.
Oxfam is part of a network of local partner organizations that monitor how much further damage locusts will cause to local food crops.
“We are making plans to provide, among other things, money aid to people who need it most, especially small farmers and cattle farmers, so that they can buy food and feed for their cattle,” Zigomo said.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN estimates that Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia need $ 70 million to tackle the plague.
Oxfam calls on donors to immediately fund this answer to prevent more people from starving and using all the assets they have to buy food.
How bloodsucking flies lured by locusts kill donkeys
The conditions in which the locusts flourish have also produced huge swarms of biting flies in Kenya.
Since the beginning of the year, 60 donkeys have died after being bitten by blood-sucking flies that left gaping wounds that became infected.
The flies, Stomoxys Calcitrans, descended on the area after a long period of heavy rainfall after two years of drought.
The flies started to bite and suck the blood of animals, leaving them with gaping wounds and very vulnerable to infections. Donkey owners decided to protect their animals by covering them in human pants and blankets.
Donkey owners in Kenya are desperately trying to protect their animals from biting flies, using human clothing, according to Brooke, the British donkey organization.
Donkey owners in Kenya have desperately tried to protect their animals from biting flies, using human clothing, according to Brooke, the British donkey fund
Elijah Mithigi, Brooke East Africa’s program manager, said: “Although seeing donkeys wearing human clothing might be funny, it also shows how long people will go to protect their animals and how much they appreciate them.
‘Donkeys are sometimes the only means poor women and men in rural and urban communities use to transport food, water and other goods for household use and income from generation; so losing them can be disastrous.
“Brooke was pleased to offer vital intervention after identifying the cause of the problem, to ensure that these hard-working donkeys could eat again without biting.”