The most serious desert locust outbreak in 70 years could leave nearly 5 million people in East Africa facing starvation, according to the International Rescue Committee (IRC). It comes as many of the countries in the region are already struggling to manage food insecurity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has already warned that the pandemic has left some of the world’s most vulnerable communities facing “a crisis within a crisis,” as it disrupts supply chains and hammers the economy, exacerbating the global hunger problem.
Now locusts are destroying crops that could have been a lifeline. A square-kilometre swarm can consume the same amount of food in one day as 35,000 people. Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, Djibouti and Sudan are among the worst-hit countries and the outbreak threatens to spread wider, the IRC says.