More funding needed to combat locust swarms ‘unprecedented in modern times’

© FAO/Giampiero Diana A swarm of desert locusts fill the sky near a farm.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Along with climate shocks, conflict and acute food insecurity, the East Africa region now faces a hunger threat from desert locusts, top UN relief officials warned on Tuesday, saying action now, will avert a major food crisis later.

The locust upsurge is “a graphic and shocking reminder” of the region’s vulnerability, said a joint statement from Qu Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO); Mark Lowcock, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator; and David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP).

“This is a scourge of biblical proportions”, the statement read. “Yet as ancient as this scourge is, its scale today is unprecedented in modern times”.

Growing plague

Although the UN agriculture agency sounded the alarm in January, calling for financial assistance to control the outbreak, resources have been too slow in coming.

Since FAO launched its first appeal to help what was at the time three affected countries, the locust swarms have moved rapidly across vast distances and as of 12 February, have been sighted in Djibouti, Eritrea, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania.

Each day, more countries are affected.

Last week, a swarm crossed into South Sudan, one of Africa’s most food-insecure and fragile countries. And just this week, one swarm reached the eastern boundaries of the Democratic Republic of the Congo – a country that has not seen a locust incursion since 1944.

The potential impact of locusts on a country that is still grappling with complex conflict, displacement, Ebola and measles outbreaks and food insecurity would be devastating.

Cost to combat swells

As the locusts continue their invasion throughout eastern Africa, and more details emerge on the scale of need in affected areas, the cost of action has shot up to $138 million to support Governments in controlling the ravaging pests, especially over the next four months.

The money would fund activities to combat the locusts before new swarms emerge, provide help for people whose crops or pastures are already affected and protect families and their livelihoods.

Act now to avert food crisis

Desert locusts have a reproduction cycle of three months.

In just a few weeks, as crops begin to sprout, the next generation of locusts will take wing in a renewed frenzy of destructive swarm activity, threatening to devastate East Africa’s most important crop of the year.Today, mature swarms are laying eggs within vast areas of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, many of which are already hatching.

“But that doesn’t have to happen”, the UN leaders said. “The window of opportunity is still open. The time to act is now”.

They maintained that action to control and contain the locusts before the new swarms take flight and farmers crops first break soil is “critical”.

At the same time, FAO needs additional resources to immediately begin boosting the resilience of affected communities so they can better withstand some inevitable shocks.

“Acting now to avert a food crisis is a more humane, effective and cost-efficient approach than responding to the aftermath of disaster”, the statement underscored.

They welcomed the $33 million international donor response that has been received or committed.

“But the funding gaps are clear, and needs are growing too rapidly”, they flagged. “We need to do more”.

WFP has estimated the cost of responding to the impact of locusts on food security alone to be at least 15 times higher than the cost of preventing the spread now.

It is time for the international community to act more decisively.

“The math is clear, as is our moral obligation”, concluded the statement. “Pay a little now or pay a lot more later”.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Reducing deforestation means getting serious about environmental crime

The company of the future must do well by doing good

Afghanistan: top UN official denounces ‘extreme’ suffering of civilians in Ghazni

Pandemic and mental health: what to do in this context?

This brewery is ditching plastic six-pack rings to save marine life

Tourism and transport: Commission’s guidance on how to safely resume travel and reboot Europe’s tourism in 2020 and beyond

Do we need a new Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after COVID-19?

Our food system is no longer fit for the 21st century. Here are three ways to fix it

Music is a vital urban resource. How do we plan for it?

It’s people, not technology, that will decide the future of work

‘Growing alarm’ over Fall Armyworm advance, with cash crops ‘under attack’ across Asia

Top UN official urges Russia and Ukraine to step away from further confrontation at sea

IMF: How To Deal With Failed Banks

Somalia: UN urges steps to ensure future elections not ‘marred’ by rights abuses seen in recent polls

A sterilised EMU may lead to a break up of Eurozone

Costa Rica has doubled its tropical rainforests in just a few decades. Here’s how

Migrant caravan: UN agency helping ‘exhausted’ people home

Here are 4 tips for governing by design in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

4 ways the way we make things can change for a sustainable world

The European Parliament launches a website on European election results

10 predictions for the global economy in 2019

Migrants and refugees are being forgotten in the COVID-19 response. This has to change

UN pushes for universal health care on International Day

Not much of a help the new EU Directive on pensions

EU Budget 2019: MEPs increase funding on youth, migration and research

Amid troop build-up in Rohingya’s home state, UN appeals to Myanmar for peaceful solution

Copyright: MEPs update rules for the digital age

JADE Romania Celebrates the 4th Anniversary

2,300 migrant children in Central American ‘caravan’ need protection, UNICEF says

Statement by President Tajani on US steel and aluminium duties

The ECB accuses the politicians of inaction, continues injecting billions to banks

The eyes of Brazil and the world turn to the largest rainforest and largest biodiversity reserve on Earth #PrayForAmazonia.

COP25: Support business efforts to tackle climate change, urges Guterres

Women-Friendly Spaces for Rohingya refugees: A place for protection and care

Nine children killed or maimed in Afghanistan every day: UN Children’s Fund

Protecting whistle-blowers: new EU-wide rules approved

Charlie’s tragedy energized deeper feelings amongst Europeans; back to basics?

Skills, not job titles, are the new metric for the labour market

Direction Wakanda: finance methods to make Africa a superhero continent

‘The welfare of the Libyan people’ the UN’s sole agenda for the country, says Guterres in Tripoli

From diamonds to recycling: how blockchain can drive responsible and ethical businesses

The Parliament sets the way for the European Banking Union

Teenage girl’s death sentence spotlights Sudan’s failure to tackle forced marriage, gender-based violence – UN rights office

This heroic doctor is waging war on rape and the stigma around it

Questions & Answers on the coordination of measures restricting free movement in the European Union related to the coronavirus pandemic

How dearly will Germany pay for the Volkswagen emissions rigging scandal

Syria: UN food relief agency ‘doing everything we can’ to reach Idlib civilians

European Youth Forum and youngest MEPs call on President Juncker to keep his promise to Europe’s youth

6 ways countries can prepare for the next infectious disease pandemic

Ecofin: ‘The Friday battle’ for the banking union

Bank resolutions set to remain a national affair

The Junior Enterprise concept: Business & Education

7 ways to break the fast fashion habit – and save the planet

Coronavirus fears may have driven over 300,000 UK smokers to quit

These are the countries that eat the most meat

Commission reports on the risks of investor citizenship and residence schemes in the EU and outlines steps to address them

The health of the human being in coexistence with a transformative biosphere

Quality education an ‘essential pillar’ of a better future, says UN chief

IFMSA and IPSF on the Health of Migrants and Refugees

International community has achieved unprecedented success fighting offshore tax evasion

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s