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Swarming locusts threaten lives

by Michael Ford last modified 05 Mar, 2020 04:58 PM

The worst locust outbreak that parts of East Africa have seen in 70 years has reached South Sudan, a country where roughly half the population already faces hunger after years of civil war, officials announced Tuesday.

Swarming locusts threaten lives

Original photo Wikimedia Commons

About 2,000 locusts were spotted inside the country, Agriculture Minister Onyoti Adigo told reporters.

The locusts have been seen in Eastern Equatoria state near the borders with Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. All have been affected by the swarms that have been influenced by the changing climate in the region.

The situation in those 3 countries "remains extremely alarming," the UN Food and Agriculture Organization said in its latest Locust Watch update Monday.

The locusts have travelled across the region in swarms the size of major cities. Experts say their only effective control is aerial spraying with pesticides, but UN and local authorities have said more aircraft and pesticides are required.

The UN has said $76 million is needed immediately. On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a visit to Ethiopia said the US would donate $8 million to the effort, a donation that follows an earlier $800,000.

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