“I think that there is the potential for locust swarms to become more frequent, and potentially more widely distributed, as the environmental factors like rain and warm temperatures that favor their outbreaks continue to become more prevalent,” he said.
To make matters worse, a swarm containing between four and eight billion insects can consume enough food to feed 3.5 million humans for a day, according to Nature, the report said.
Keith Cressman, senior locust forecasting officer for the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, called the locusts “voracious”, and warned they are very adaptable to different environments.
“It’s a pest that has been around for eons and eons of time,” Cressman told NPR. “It has so many different survival mechanisms … to just survive in some of the harshest areas and most remote parts of this planet. But it has this fabulous capacity to take advantage of good conditions.”
According to CNBC: “The locusts’ appetites have placed about 25 million people at risk for food insecurity.
“Agriculture accounts for 65 percent employment and one-third of the gross domestic product in the region. The destruction of crops could be disastrous.
“Cressman believes spraying pesticides is the “only effective response,” to the plague. Some afflicted nations have started spraying, but combating the infestation is difficult in high-conflict areas.”
Segenet Kelemu, Director-General of the Internation Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Nairobi, Kenya, said: “Swarms also develop when control efforts break down or political or natural disasters prevent access to breeding areas, and interventions do not start early enough.
“Countries like Yemen, where there are human catastrophic situations due to conflict, are in no position to take care of invasive pests.”
Bloomberg reports: “The COVID-19 pandemic is another obstacle.
“Shipping prices have increased due to a shortage of outgoing flights.
“The FAO wants $153 million to get rid of the locusts. About $107 million has been pledged or donated.”