Wave of locusts swarm invading East Africa

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locust invasion
Photo: National Geographic

Some hundreds of billions of locusts are invading several regions of East Africa and South Asia. This is known as the worst infestation for a quarter of a century. Crops and livelihoods are being strongly threatened by this invasion.

According to BBC, these tiny insects are breeding at an accelerating rate that could grow four hundredfold by June.

As a reminder, at the beginning of the year, the UN appealed for $76m (£59m) to deal with this crisis, currently, the amount has risen to $138m.

The countries the most touched are those from East Africa, Yemen, the Gulf states, Iran, Pakistan as well as India.

Most recently, locusts are also gaining ground in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Swarms have also occupied fields in Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar and along the coast of Iran.

So far, the most effective strategies to deal with this crisis is proven to be aerial spraying as well as ground spraying while the authorities are constantly tracking down the swarms.

Sadly, the Desert Locust Control Organization for Eastern Africa head by Stephen Njoka reported to BBC News that the aircraft were in short supply, while Ethiopia was making use of five and Kenya six the aerial spraying.

On the side of Kenya, over 240 personnel have been trained to monitor locust swarms. For its part, the Chinese government recently announced to provide its assistance by sending a team of experts to neighboring Pakistan to develop “targeted programs” against the locusts.

“biological weapons”

According to trusted sources, the aid could be in form of “biological weapons”, arranging 100,000 ducks to get rid of the insects. While chickens could eat about 70 locusts in one day, a duck is capable of consuming three times as much as chickens. “Ducks like to stay in a group, so they are easier to manage than chickens,” explained Lu Lizhi, a senior researcher with the Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, to the Chinese media.