While worldwide attention is focused on COVID-19, millions of desert locusts continue to eat the fields in the Horn of Africa. Malnutrition and a food crisis loom. 'It is vital that locust control activities and their impact on livelihoods continue, with local communities at the forefront,' say Regional Alliance Against Locusts (RDLA) campaigners. (You can read the complete statement of the RDLA here).
Communities in many of the worst affected areas in Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and Uganda have already lost almost all their food and crops. Now the new agricultural season is coming, but new swarms have already formed and could again cause significant damage to crops and grazing land.
Additional threat from COVID-19
Despite all the efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic, efforts to control locusts must not slacken.
„Within a week, with the coronavirus pandemic taking foot in East Africa, the whole situation has changed. While all actors were making progress in controlling the swarms but also building synergies for a coordinated response, the coronavirus pandemic has brought the response to the locust to an almost standstill. Up to today, locusts continue invading farms in the country and finding new breeding grounds. We are now going into the planting season, making the small farmers situation even more challenging ahead“, says Philippe Carette, Head of Johanniter country office in Kenya.
Aid measures from Johanniter continue
Together with its partner organisation RACIDA, Johanniter supports families affected by the locust swarms in the north-east of the country. They receive food vouchers with which people can buy food in local shops or markets. What the situation currently looks like for the people in the region is told in our picture stories.