Current desert locust infestations are largest in Ethiopia and Somalia in 25 years, Kenya in 70 years
Desert locusts reach the DRC, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda
FAO requests $153.2 million for regional response across ten countries
USAID/OFDA supports control efforts in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia
Desert locusts have spread rapidly across East Africa since December 2019, threatening crops and pasture critical to the livelihoods of local populations. Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia remain the most heavily impacted, with bands of hoppers—immature, wingless locusts—and swarms of adult locusts devouring vegetation in multiple areas; mature desert locusts continue to breed in all three countries as of early March. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warns that the next generation of the pest will likely form swarms in late March and into April, coinciding with seasonal rains and the upcoming planting season. While locust infestations have not immediately impacted food security, relief actors anticipate increased emergency food assistance needs during the latter half of 2020.
On February 26, FAO issued an appeal for $138 million—revised from the late January request for $76 million to support response activities through July—to scale up efforts to curb the spread of desert locust swarms, protect livelihoods and bolster early recovery, and improve response coordination and preparedness in eight affected countries through December. In early March, the UN agency requested an additional $15.2 million to support locust-related response efforts in Sudan and Yemen.
USAID/OFDA is providing $18 million to scale up pest control operations through direct interventions and local capacity building in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia, the countries most affected by the desert locust. Between mid-November 2019 and late February 2020, the U.S. Government (USG) declared disasters for Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya due to the humanitarian impact of the locust infestations.