There are billions of locusts in the air in East Africa and the continent is in a precarious situation because they could multiply. They devour everything in their path and lead to severe food shortages. Once it rains and greenery flourishes, the pests will have a field day. These desert locusts have already played havoc with vital crops and damaged farmland in different parts of Africa. They have now flown into Uganda and Tanzania. There can be millions of them per square mile. This is the first such incident in Africa since 1989 and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has cautioned that it could give rise to a humanitarian crisis when millions of people face severe food insecurity.

An official says that “a swarm in one day can eat the same amount of food as everybody here in the tri-state area, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York.” Obviously, it does not auger well for Africa.

Daily Mail UK says the authorities are seized with the problem and are spraying pesticides over the affected region. They are doing it manually as well aerially. This is the most effective form of control. However, it is nothing but a desperate attempt to contain the menace because these desert locusts can travel up to 95 miles in a day.

Officials in Kenya feel it would help if there were drones to provide prior knowledge of approaching swarms. However, they say there is an apparent limitation on the availability of the requisite number of drones.

A major challenge for Africa

They noted that the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres wants the world to rise to the challenge and extend help.

He said, “I ask the international community to respond with speed and generosity to ensure an effective response and control the infestation while we still have the chance.” Kenya and Somalia have resorted to spraying pesticides aerially as well as manually. The FAO describes the present invasion as an 'upsurge' but when it goes beyond control, it will be designated as a 'plague' of locusts.

FAO provides statistics that reveal there were six major desert locust plagues in the 1900s, with the last one being in 1987-89.

Daily Mail UK goes on to add that the present swarm that hit Kenya is the worst in the past 70 years, while in Ethiopia and Somalia it's the worst in the past 25 years. Incidentally, there is a significant increase in devastating droughts and floods in recent years. It has already given rise to food insecurity for millions because the swarms have destroyed the pasture for livestock.

Africa likely to face food insecurity

According to Fox News, an unbelievable number of locusts have invaded parts of East Africa. The invasion is a threat to life in the region and the people could face a shortage of food. This is because the pests survive on greenery and can devour enormous amounts that can cripple society. The U.N. officials have sounded a warning that authorities need to take remedial action as a priority before the rains. Once it rains, there will be fresh vegetation and the new generations of locusts will multiply. That would aggravate the situation. The only solution is to spray pesticides. The U.N. is exploring possibilities of using drones equipped with mapping sensors and atomizers to undertake the work.

Africa has much to offer with natural habitats

The locusts will destroy the green cover and the ecological balance could suffer. A shortage of food will have a cascading effect on all forms of life. The continent is home to a wide variety of wildlife and the parks attract tourists. However, the animals face different types of threats. Poachers are active in Africa. Some of them eye the horns of the animals but there is a decline in this area. It is a positive sign. Others go in for the tusks of elephants. Anyway, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry had, in the past, expressed their willingness to move to Africa to support good causes.