Michael Gatiba, owner of a 10-acre farm in Nakuru County, Kenya, is one of many dealing with another plague on top of the global pandemic that is, Covid-19. One day he was shocked to discover that millions of desert locusts had begun to invade the area.
What We Know:
- Although Gatiba said he was lucky that the damage from the insects was minimal, he fears that the outbreak that has plagued swaths of Africa, the Middle East and Asia for the past two years, will return to ravage his maize and bean crops.
- According to NBC News, “It was like a storm,” the 45 year old farmer stated over the telephone around March. “It was like hail. They covered everywhere. Even there was no sun.”
- As the pests begin to migrate again in the second half of June, experts warn that, without continuous aid to mitigate the spread, the devastation could leave millions of people in at least 23 countries hungry by the end of the year.
- Desert locusts are a migratory pest from the grasshopper family. Even with a lifespan of only three months, they can multiply up to twenty fold in just one generation under the right conditions. Once they hit maturity, they behave as one, eventually creating massive swarms that feast on green vegetation, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
- A perfect storm of favorable weather, poor monitoring and unfortunate locations has sparked challenges in getting access to specific resources and regions. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, it has sparked one of the worst locust swarms to reach such a scale unseen in decades, experts say.
As it stands now, the locust swarms have been feasting and reproducing in Kenya, as well as in Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti. The locusts are expected to begin another move with the changing winds by the end of the month, with some bound for Sudan.