Desert Locust Control
Plagues of locusts hit across Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia when the region was already facing very high levels of food insecurity after countries there had been hit by massive droughts and, in some areas, flash floods.
A large desert locust plague would contain up to 150 million individuals per square kilometer, with half a million locusts weighing approximately one tonne. One tonne of locust can eat as much food in one day as about ten elephants, 25 camels, or 2,500 people. The insects can destroy at least 200 tonnes of vegetation per day.
Ethiopia has been in continuous drought since 2015 and was then hit with floods that destroyed vegetation. This locust infestation has killed hundreds of square kilometers of vegetation in the Amhara and Tigray regions since November 2019. The cyclone in early December 2019 made the presence of locusts stronger.
The locust swarms increased significantly across 13 Kenyan counties, including Isiolo, Samburu, Wajir, Garissa, Tana River, Marsabit, Laikipia, Mandera, Kitui, Baringo, Meru, Embu, and Turkana. These same counties experienced devastating droughts and floods in recent years, and over 3 million people there have been facing extreme levels of food insecurity. The swarms destroyed pasture for livestock and devastated the planting seasons.
In Somalia, tens of thousands of hectares of land were affected in Somaliland, Puntland, and Galmudug (Mudug) as mature swarms hit the Garbahare area near the Kenyan border. Locusts were also reported to have traveled south to Somalia’s Gedo region, leaving a trail of destroyed farms.
SND was part of a network of local partner organizations that monitored further damage the locusts would cause to local food crops within Moyale and Sololo Sub-Counties, Marsabit County in Kenya.