Second massive locust swarm hits East Africa, exacerbating already severe food shortage threat

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Credit: AP/Ben Curtis

They’re back: Trillions of locusts descend on East Africa in second wave. Think of locusts as giant, hormonally charged, very hungry grasshoppers. They can move more than 100 miles in a day, depending on the wind.

“It is a race against time to ensure these new swarms do not breed,” said Hamisi Williams, a senior Food and Agriculture Organization official in Kenya. “When this happens, we will be talking about the locusts at plague level.”

Weather conditions are expected to be favorable for locust breeding over the next three months. There are 18 swarms in Kenya right now. Regional governments have appealed for financial assistance, but with attention almost totally consumed by the covid-19 pandemic, locusts have tumbled down the priority list.

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The locusts and the coronavirus seem to be converging toward a catastrophe if a third generation is able to hatch in June and July.

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