The worst locust outbreak in nearly a hundred years is spreading fast, the FAO yesterday announced South Sudan and Botswana, the first southern African nation has been invaded by migratory locusts and in a separate, unconfirmed report the locust plague has reached the Western borders of coronavirus-hit China, the area of the plagues are vast and the numbers of countries now affected enormous, see map above. A small plague was reported on TBW back in Jan 2019 ironically at the holiest site in Islam. The locusts were filmed swarming around the Great Mosque in Mecca, since then the plague has stretched from the Chinese border to South Africa. See Timeline Below
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. Around 2,000 locusts were spotted inside the country, Agriculture Minister Onyoti Adigo told reporters. Authorities will try to control the outbreak, he added. The locusts have been seen in Eastern Equatorial state near the borders with Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.
All have been affected by the outbreak that has been influenced by the changing climate in the region. The situation in those three countries "remains extremely alarming," the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said in its latest Locust Watch update Monday. Locusts also have reached Sudan, Eritrea, Tanzania and more recently Uganda.
The soil in South Sudan's Eastern Equatorial has a sandy nature that allows the locusts to lay eggs easily, said Meshack Malo, a country representative with the FAO. At this stage "if we are not able to deal with them ... it will be a problem," he said. South Sudan is even less prepared than other countries in the region for a locust outbreak, and its people are arguably more vulnerable. More than 5 million people are severely food insecure, the U.N. humanitarian office says in its latest assessment, and some 860,000 children are malnourished. Five years of civil war shattered South Sudan's economy, and lingering insecurity since a 2018 peace deal continues to endanger humanitarians trying to distribute aid. Another local aid worker was shot and killed last week, the U.N. said Tuesday. The locusts have travelled across the region in swarms the size of major cities.
Botswana the first southern African nation has been invaded by migratory locusts
Botswana's Ministry of Agriculture and Security on Tuesday announced that the southern African nation has been invaded by migratory locusts. Plant protection officer Velleminah Pelokgale informed farmers that there is an outbreak of a migratory locust in Ngamiland area in the northern part of the country. She appealed to the public to report to members of the public to report suspected sightings of the locusts to the nearest agriculture office. Botswana is believed to be the first southern African country to register the first case of a locust outbreak.
The swarms of billions of locusts have been destroying crops in Kenya, which hasn't seen such an outbreak in 70 years, as well as Somalia and Ethiopia, which haven't seen this in a quarter of a century. The insects have exploited favourable wet conditions after unusually heavy rains and experts say climate change is expected to bring more of the same.
Locust plague reaches coronavirus-hit China
Locust plague reaches coronavirus-hit China after wreaking havoc across Africa Chilling footage has shown thousands of insects swarming the skies at a border in China. They reportedly come from a plague that has devastated east Africa in recent weeks But the Communist Party of China has tried to downplay the severity of the swarms reaching the country. They claim their modern technology and sufficient stocks which have not been seen in Africa will prevent any widespread damage. That has had little impact among residents already worried about the spread of coronavirus though, which has already killed 1,770 people in mainland China. Another said: “You can believe what the experts say? Just listen to it.” One expert, quoted by the Epoch Times, warned that the locusts could pose a direct threat to China, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. But others were less worried, suggesting they would not be able to spread into the snowy region of Xinjiang. Star
Jan 2019: The holiest site in Islam has been hit by a plague of locusts, forcing cleaners into action to drive the insects out. Footage shared on social media showed the insects swarming around the Great Mosque in Mecca, which hosts millions of Muslim pilgrims every year. TBW
April 2019: A locust outbreak in the Arabian Peninsula has been spreading to Iran, threatening crops and food security in large areas of the coastal province of Hormozgan, an official said.
Director of a department at Horkozgan's agricultural organization told Tasnim that Iran is facing the worst locust attack in the past 40 years. TBW
June 2019: In what is becoming an increasing problem in 2019 yet another locust plague is attacking crops on an unsuspected country. An army of locusts coming from the Pakistan side has laid siege to a western Indian border district. Rajasthan's Jaisalmer district is witnessing the biggest attack in 26 years, said the Locust Warning Organisation (LWO), headquartered in Jodhpur. TBW
June 2019: Millions of locusts have devastated at least 2,000 hectares of crops in Sardinia, Italian farmers union Coldiretti said on Monday, with experts calling the invasion the worst in six decades.
The most affected areas are Nuoro, Ottana and Orani in the middle of the Mediterranean island, with many areas blanketed by the insects, Coldiretti said in a statement. TBW
Jan 2020: The most serious outbreak of desert locusts in 25 years is spreading across East Africa and posing an unprecedented threat to food security in some of the world's most vulnerable countries, authorities say. Unusual climate conditions are partly to blame. The locust swarms hang like shimmering dark clouds on the horizon in some places. Roughly the length of a finger, the insects fly together by the millions and are devouring crops and forcing people in some areas to bodily wade through them. TBW
Jan 2020: Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are dealing with desert locust swarms of “unprecedented size and destructive potential” that could spill over into more countries in East Africa, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned on Monday. Destroying hundreds of thousands of acres of crops, the outbreak is impacting the region’s food insecurity. The UN agency urged for a collective campaign to deal with the crisis, concerned over the risk that the swarms spill over into more countries in East Africa, “if efforts to deal with the voracious pest are not scaled up across the region”. TBW
Jan 2020: Locust Plague Update" Devastation is unsurmountable." The unprecedented plagues of locusts sweeping across East Africa to grow 500 times bigger by June: One swarm contains billions of locusts. TBW
Feb 2020: A state of emergency was declared in Pakistan to tackle the biggest locust attack in decades. The insects are destroying crops in Punjab province. The Punjab province in Pakistan is the main region for agricultural production. Prime Minister Imran Khan approved a National Action Plan (NAP) that requires a sum of Rs 7.3 billion to overcome the crisis. Minister for National Food Security Khusro Bakhtiar informed the National Assembly about the gravity of the situation. TBW
Feb 2020: Somalia has become the first country in the Horn of Africa to declare a locust infestation sweeping the region as a national emergency. The country's Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement on Sunday the desert locust surge "poses a major threat to Somalia's fragile food security situation"."Food sources for people and their livestock are at risk," it added. "The desert swarms are uncommonly large and consume huge amounts of crops and forage. TBW
Feb 2020" Uganda scrambled to respond to the arrival of the biggest locust outbreak that parts of East Africa have seen in decades, while the United Nations warned Monday that “we simply cannot afford another major shock” to an already vulnerable region. An emergency government meeting hours after the locusts were spotted inside Uganda on Sunday decided to deploy military forces to help with ground-based pesticide spraying, while two planes for aerial spraying will arrive as soon as possible, a statement said. TBW
2020 Locust Plague
Front Page Headlines