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The Worst Locust Plague in Decades Could Destroy Crops in Africa on a Massive Scale


If a swarm of locusts is indeed a symbol of wrath, then the climate in northern Africa must be seriously bent out of shape.

Today, Kenya is experiencing the worst outbreak of desert locusts in 70 years, with a plague so thick in some areas, locals say they can barely see through the hundreds of millions of fluttering bugs.

While harmless to the touch, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the situation is "extremely serious" and an "unprecedented threat" to the food security and livelihoods of those in the Horn of Africa.

"Even cows are wondering what is happening," farmer Ndunda Makanga told The South China Morning Post.

The locusts started gathering last June in eastern Ethiopia and northern Somalia, before quickly developing into the most serious infestation that region has experienced in the past 25 years.

2019 was one of the wettest years ever in East Africa, and warm temperatures and heavy rainfall created the perfect environment for an outbreak. Now, each day, more and more locusts slip over into Ethiopia, joining a mass of insects so large it's been compared to the city of Moscow.

FAO claims its size and destructive potential is like nothing we've seen before. These voracious pests threaten to destroy pastures and crops, and apparently, even a small swarm can consume enough food for 35,000 people in a single day.

Coming off a year of El Niño-induced drought, further deterioration of food security could spell disaster. In Kenya, about 70,000 hectares of land are already infested, and FAO says it doesn't see the issue abating until at least June 2020.

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