East Africa is facing historically large swarms of locust in countries like Kenya and Ethiopia, resulting in the loss of thousands of acres of crops. One statistic shows swarms are destroying enough food per day to feed 35,000 people.
Numbers gathered by the United Nations show Kenya is experiencing the worst desert locust infestation in 70 years, while Ethiopia and Somalia haven’t seen a plague this severe in 25 years. Swarms covering an area as large as 2,400 km2 are moving across East Africa at speeds up to 150 kilometers a day. Every one km2 locust swarm is comprised of approximately 40 million locusts, with larger swarms reaching hundreds of millions.
With crops and vegetation getting wiped out by these swarms, food insecurity in East Africa is only getting worse. According to the United Nations, 19 million people in the region are already severely food insecure, and the invasion could cause even more malnutrition and food scarcity.
To combat the swarms, Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia are spreading insecticide sprays across over 485,000 hectares of land. Desert locusts breed incredibly fast, with egg pods holding roughly 80 eggs leading to about 16-20 adult locusts in as little as two months.