Somalia declares national emergency over locust swarms

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Somalia has declared a national emergency over a number of large locust swarms that are spreading across East Africa.

The country’s Ministry of Agriculture said the swarms pose “a major threat to Somalia’s fragile food security situation” amid fears that the situation may not be resolved until April. The UN has called the swarms, which consume large amounts of vegetation, are the largest in Somalia and Ethiopia for 25 years.

Somalia declares national emergency

Somalia has become the first country to declare a national emergency over the huge swarms of locust currently moving across East Africa. However, it’s by no means the only country affected with Kenya seeing its worst threat in 70 years, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Food security in Somalia is particularly fragile, though, with the country facing increasingly difficult drought and flooding conditions throughout different parts of the year. Floods destroy crucial cropland and kill livestock while droughts make production impossible for many who still have land available.

Now, those who have managed to produce crops face the prospect of its being decimated by swarms of locust that rapidly consume vegetation and simply move on to the next source.

The challenge of dealing with locust is more difficult for Somalia, too, due to the country’s security situation meaning that planes cannot be used to spray insecticide from the air.

Featured image: By CSIRO, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35486123

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.