Biggest locust outbreak in 70 years expected to invade Africa

Africa to expect biggest locust outbreak in 70 years

As most of the world is battling the COVID-19 pandemic, Africa has another infestation to worry about -- locusts.

The region had the biggest locust outbreak in 70 years weeks ago, and now another wave, one that will be 20 times the size of the first wave in some areas, The Associated Press reported.

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FILE - In this Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020 file photo, ranger Gabriel Lesoipa is surrounded by desert locusts as he and a ground team relay the coordinates of the swarm to a plane spraying pesticides, in Nasuulu Conservancy, northern Kenya.
FILE - In this Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020 file photo, ranger Gabriel Lesoipa is surrounded by desert locusts as he and a ground team relay the coordinates of the swarm to a plane spraying pesticides, in Nasuulu Conservancy, northern Kenya. (Ben Curtis/AP)

The desert locusts are coming from Somalia looking for the vegetation coming to life with seasonal rains.

“Once they land in your garden they do total destruction. Some people will even tell you that the locusts are more destructive than the coronavirus. There are even some who don’t believe that the virus will be here,” Yoweri Aboket told the AP.

To try to scare away the insects, people in Aboket’s village near the Ugandan border with Kenya, are banging metal pans, blowing whistles or throwing stones to scare the locusts away.

At the same time, they’re all in lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic, not permitted to gather outside their homes.

Locust swarms have been seen in Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Djibouti, Eritrea, Tanzania and Congo.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said the locust swarms are caused partially by climate change and are “an unprecedented threat” to food and livelihoods, the AP reported.

FILE - In this Friday, Jan. 24, 2020 file photo, a desert locust sits on a maize plant at a farm in Katitika village, Kitui county, Kenya.
FILE - In this Friday, Jan. 24, 2020 file photo, a desert locust sits on a maize plant at a farm in Katitika village, Kitui county, Kenya. (Ben Curtis/AP)