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New locusts swarms ‘threaten food security in East Africa’

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New swarms of locusts are increasing the risk of food insecurity for millions of people in East and Central Africa who are already reeling from the impact of Covid-19 and flooding, humanitarian agency Oxfam has said in a new report.

Locust invasions in recent months are estimated to have destroyed thousands of hectares of crops in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia.

Heavy rains that have led to flooding have also created favourable conditions for the breeding of locusts.

The latest generation of swarms, feared to be as big as 400 times larger than the original swarms, are expected to hatch in June when crops are ready for harvest

East Africa’s Desert Locust Control Organisation has told the BBC that the coronavirus pandemic has hindered efforts to control the invasion as importing pesticide to the region has become expensive.

Last week the World Bank approved $160m (£130m) for Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda in the form of grants and low-interest loans to help farmers and herders impacted by the invasions.

SourceBBC

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