Locusts swarmed through East Africa as a result of extreme weather swings, which could prove catastrophic for the region, according to experts on Friday.
The insects have spread from Ethiopia and Somalia into Kenya, which served as the region’s worse infestation in decades. The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said this is the biggest invasion in Ethiopia and Somalia in 25 years, and the biggest in Kenya in 70 years.
UN’s FAO estimated that one swarm in Kenya is about 2,400 square kilometers, which is an area almost the same size as Moscow.
Locusts could grow 500 times by June and may spread to Uganda and South Sudan. They will devastate large numbers of crops and pasture in the region, which is already considered as one of the poorest and most vulnerable in the world.
Guleid Artan from regional expert group Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) said that this could lead to “a major food security problem” in a press conference in Nairobi.
He added that the locusts were the latest symptom of the extreme conditions, wherein 2019 started with drought and ended with one of the wettest rainy seasons in four decades that killed hundreds across East Africa.
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