Lo­custs leave 13m Africans food inse­cure

The Citizen (KZN) - - News - United Nations

– The UN un­der­sec­re­tary-gen­eral for hu­man­i­tar­ian af­fairs called on the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity on Mon­day to help East African coun­tries af­fected by lo­cust swarms, ex­press­ing deep con­cern at the sit­u­a­tion.

“There are 13 mil­lion peo­ple in the af­fected coun­tries who are se­verely food inse­cure now,” said Mark Low­cock dur­ing a United Nations (UN) press con­fer­ence. “Ten mil­lion of those peo­ple are in the places af­fected by lo­custs.”

Low­cock, who said he had re­cently re­leased $10 mil­lion (R149 mil­lion) for the cri­sis, warned that “un­less there was a rapid re­sponse, we are go­ing to have a huge prob­lem later in the year”.

The lo­custs have dev­as­tated food sup­plies in Kenya, Ethiopia and So­ma­lia. They were re­ported to be in Uganda on Sun­day.

Ac­cord­ing to Low­cock, the UN Food and Agri­cul­ture Or­gan­i­sa­tion (FAO) es­ti­mated at the end of Jan­uary that a lo­cust con­trol plan would cost $76 mil­lion.

“What we have so far is just $20 mil­lion,” he said. “Un­less we get a grip of this in the next two, three or four weeks, we are wor­ried we are go­ing to have a re­ally se­ri­ous prob­lem.”

Low­cock said the lo­cust out­break was “the worst for 70 years in Kenya, for 25 years in Ethiopia, So­ma­lia,” and said one of the rea­sons be­hind the swarms was cli­mate change.

Desert lo­custs, whose de­struc­tive in­fes­ta­tions cause ma­jor crop dam­age, are a species of grasshop­per that live largely soli­tary lives un­til a com­bi­na­tion of con­di­tions pro­mote breed­ing and lead them to form mas­sive swarms. Swarms formed in eastern Ethiopia and north­ern So­ma­lia have moved through the re­gion. – AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.