from HASSAN ONYANGO in Kampala, Uganda
KAMPALA – SWARMS of locusts wreaking havoc in East Africa have now invaded Uganda.
There are also unconfirmed reports of the swarms now in Tanzania, the second largest economy in East Africa.
In Uganda, two districts in the northern parts of the country are affected.
Before the invasion of Uganda and reported cases in Tanzania, locusts had invaded Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia.
Sudan and South Sudan were under threat too.
There are already 22,8 million people living in acute to severe food insecurity in the affected countries.
This is the worst locust crisis in 70 years for Kenya alone. Somalia and Ethiopia are experiencing their worst outbreaks in 25 years, putting crop production, food security and millions of lives at risk.
Mark Lowcock, the United Nations (UN) chief humanitarian official, said the region was already vulnerable and fragile and thus could not afford another major shock.
“That’s why we need to act quickly,” he said.
“We do have a chance to nip this problem in the bud, but that’s not what we are doing at the moment. We are running out of time.”
The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) recently launched a $76 million (R1,1 billion) to control the locusts’ spread.
So far, only around $20 million (R297 million) has been received.
Locusts are the world’s oldest and most destructive migratory pests.
An average swarm, which contains up to 40 million insects, can travel up to 150 km in a single day and can consume enough food to feed 34 million people within that time.
– CAJ News