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The 2020 Global Desert Locust Invasion – Climate, Food Scarcity and Desertification

This page offers news and information about the 2020 global desert locust invasion. Stories and reports are listed below in chronological order with emphasis on the source and date. Some unusual fluctuations in climate have resulted in excessive locust populations. These locust swarms can eat more quantities of food than the entire populations of some countries they are invading. They leave behind a further desertification of land which can result in extreme climate conditions and wide-spread habitat destruction.

Deutsche Welle (3 Jul 2020)

Why we’re seeing the worst locust invasion in decades and how Covid-19 exacerbates it. While Asia and Africa are battling their worst locust invasion in decades, the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic could push tens of millions of people even into deeper poverty and hunger. Over 50 million people were already facing crisis-level food insecurity before the coronavirus pandemic began to spread. COVID-19 prevents farmers from offsetting crop losses by doing manual labor in cities because of curfews, restricted movement, and social distancing mandates. [Source: Deutsche Welle, 3 Jul 2020]

VICE News (25 Jun 2020)

Billions of Locusts Are Invading East Africa. The Horn of Africa is being hit hard by a locust invasion, caused by abnormal weather & climate change. Kenya is racing to contain the locusts as a second-generation threatens to wipe out huge amounts of crops and grazing land. VICE News talks to herders and the military response teams, and rides along with surveillance helicopters and crop dusters to show how they are combatting the historic swarms. [Source: VICE News, 25 Jun 2020]

VOX (24 Jun 2020)

Why locusts are descending on East Africa. Since late 2019, East Africa and the Middle East have been experiencing their worst locust outbreaks in decades. A small locust swarm can eat more food than 35,000 people; but some locust swarms in the area have grown to over two thousand times that size. And it’s all coming right on the heels of a season of catastrophic flooding in the region. But that isn’t a coincidence: The desert locust thrives when dry weather turns wet. And in 2018 and 2019, a series of freak weather events brought record-setting rainfall to the Middle East and East Africa. The result of all this is a region at risk of a famine, in the middle of a pandemic. And because freak weather is a hallmark of climate change, it’s also the kind of thing we can expect to happen again. [Source: VOX, 24 Jun 2020]

Deutsche Welle (29 May 2020)

India and Pakistan face worst locust plague in 30 years. India and Pakistan are facing their worst plague of locusts in decades. Authorities in both countries fear a food security crisis. And even as Pakistan struggles with the economic fallout of the coronavirus lockdown, its agricultural sector says the insect infestation poses a greater challenge. [Source: Deutsche Welle, 29 May 2020]

The Guardian (14 May 2020)

Fighting a locust plague amid Covid-19 in east Africa. The recent coronavirus pandemic is only exacerbating the problems currently facing herders, also known as pastoralists, in Kenya. They’ve seen their livestock devastated and crops destroyed after the worst locust invasions in 70 years and villagers are bracing themselves for another swarm, 400 times larger if left unchecked. With less vegetation for grazing, herders can sometimes infringe on neighbours land, causing violent conflict. We follow Josephine Ekiru, a peace-builder, who is trying to help as economic insecurity caused by the pandemic fuels attacks. [Source: The Guardian, 14 May 2020]

Deutsche Welle (13 Feb 2020)

Locusts in East Africa threaten to become a plague. Millions of people in East Africa are facing an impending disaster – as swarms of locusts are ravaging fields of crops. The UN is calling for urgent action saying the food security of people in the affected region is at risk. More rainfall in the weeks ahead will bring fresh vegetation to feed new generations of the pests. [Source: Deutsche Welle, 13 Feb 2020]

Al Jazeera (10 Feb 2020)

What’s caused an outbreak of desert locusts in East Africa and South Asia? The insects are the world’s most dangerous migratory pests. Locusts can swarm in their billions and in January, densely enough to force an Ethiopian Airlines plane off course. Now they’re invading Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda and Pakistan. It is the worst outbreak in twenty five years and for Kenya, seventy years. The insects can spread fast, and other countries are now at risk. The swarms have already destroyed tens of thousands of hectares of crops. Millions of people already short of food, could face famine. Somalia and Pakistan have declared a state of emergency. The UN says if action isn’t taken fast enough, Somalia’s infestation could become ‘the most devastating plague in living memory’. And it’s asked for $76 million in aid to help control the outbreak. So can it be contained, or could it get worse? [Source: Al Jazeera, 10 Feb 2020]

By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson is a freelance writer and tech consultant in Iowa City. He is also the founder and Director of the ResourcesForLife.com website. Learn more at AboutGregJohnson.com

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