ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia has deployed helicopters to spray new swarms of desert locusts that are eating crops and threatening the country’s food security, according to media reports.
Billions of the pests have descended on East Africa in recent weeks, targeting crops and pastures across a region already facing widespread hunger and humanitarian needs.
In the latest development, huge swarms swept into southern Oromia region last week from Kenya and Somalia, displacing thousands of people, officials said.
Ethiopia engaged the swarms by spraying pesticides from the air, using three helicopters leased from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Zebdios Salato, the top advisor in the crop protection department at Ministry of Agriculture, quoted as saying by VOA’s Horn of Africa Service.
Hours after spraying, millions of locusts lay scattered on the ground, dead or dying.
Zebidos told VOA that the helicopters arrived the first week in May from South Africa. The government of Ethiopia might lease three more if necessary, he added.
“Total eradication will not be possible, but we can scale up the control operation,” he added.
Previously, the government was using five single-engine turboprop aircraft to repeal the locust outbreak in remote and inaccessible areas.
Image: Recently UN FAO has provided Aircraft to help Ethiopia Fight Against Locusts [Photo File]