UN says Locust Outbreak in East Africa Linked with Climate Change

ADDIS ABEBA – The United Nations secretary general has linked the locust crisis to the global worming as he appealed for financial assistance to curb an outbreak of locusts in the eastern African desert.

Antonio Guterres called for donors to support African nations that are burdened with the consequences.

“There is a link between climate change and the unprecedented locust crisis plaguing Ethiopia and East Africa,” he said while talking to the press on the sidelines of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa.

“Warmer seas mean more cyclones generating the perfect breeding ground for locusts. Today the swarms are as big as major cities and it is getting worse by the day,” he added.

The rising number of desert locusts presents an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods in the Horn of Africa, according to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The agriculture agency said it had mobilized 15.4 million US dollars of the 76 million US dollars requested for the five countries including Ethiopia. It also warned more could be needed, amid concern that the outbreak will spread to other countries, in particular South Sudan and Uganda.

In December, a locust swarm forced a passenger plane off course in Ethiopia. Insects smashed into the engines, windshield and nose, but the aircraft was able to land safely in Addis Ababa.

– Agencies

Image Caption: Locusts swarm across a highway at Lerata village, near Archers Post, Kenya. [Photo Tony Karumba]