United Nations official warned that an outbreak of tens of millions of locusts is spreading throughout East Africa and is ravaging its vital farmland, putting the lives of millions of people at risk.
The U.N.’s top humanitarian official, Mark Lowcock, said swarms of the insects crossed into Uganda overnight. And now, South Sudan and Tanzania, he said, are “on the watch list.”
“In this region where there is so much suffering and so much vulnerability and fragility, we simply cannot afford another major shock. And that’s why we need to act quickly,” Lowcock said Monday, according to a U.N. news release. “We do have a chance to nip this problem in the bud, but that’s not what we’re doing at the moment. We’re running out of time.”
At the same time, the locusts are putting a strain on an already hard-hit region, according to the intergovernmental organization. Sudan and Somalia faced famine threats in 2017, and in the past two years, droughts, poor rains, and even floods have affected communities in the region.
Such conditions, the U.N. official argued, create “the environment to facilitate the current locust outbreak.”