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Although the UN agriculture agency sounded the alarm in January, calling for financial assistance to control the outbreak, resources have been too slow in coming/FILE

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Germany commits Sh221.4mn to fight locust plague in the Horn Africa

Swarms of desert locusts have been spreading rapidly in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti and Eritrea following prolonged periods of drought and heavy rain in East Africa and South Sudan and Uganda are also threatened/FILE

BERLIN, Germany, Feb 5 – The government of Germany has committed Sh221.4 million to fight the locust invasion currently destroying crops and pastureland in the Horn of Africa.  

In a statement sent to newsrooms, Germany says it has sent the money for emergency aid to help tackle this infestation that puts the region at the risk of a famine.  

The plague has been termed as the worst locust infestation in decades by the World Food Organization (FAO).  

Swarms of desert locusts have been spreading rapidly in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti and Eritrea following prolonged periods of drought and heavy rain in East Africa and South Sudan and Uganda are also threatened.  

The swarms in Kenya stretch over an area of around 2400 square kilometres and are travelling up to 150 km per day. 

“The affected countries cannot tackle this infestation alone but need support from the international community. The Federal Foreign Office has therefore made available two million euros to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) at short notice for emergency aid measures to cope with the infestation,” says the statement.  

These countries are at risk of suffering the worst locust infestation in decades. The dimensions and destructive potential of the insect swarms are unprecedented,” it says 

New and larger swarms feared

The locusts are currently in a reproductive phase and experts fear that new and much larger swarms could develop in April.  

A further spread of the insects could lead to widespread famine, displacement and conflicts over the few remaining crop yields. Even before the infestation, around 20 million people were at risk of famine due to periodic droughts and floods. 

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The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that financial contributions totaling 70 million US dollars will be required to fight the plague.  

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