The World Bank has just released an exceptional envelope of $ 500 million to combat locusts. The money will go mainly to East Africa, hit by an unprecedented insect invasion. The region is in a very delicate situation, as the locusts are joined by other crises that risk bringing the region into a catastrophic humanitarian situation.
The saying ” A bad thing never comes alone “Unfortunately applies this year to East Africa. Following exceptional rains, the region suffers its worst locust invasion in 70 years. The money from the World Bank will go directly to families, pastoralists, farmers, the purchase of fertilizers and seeds, and to the funding of monitoring and alert mechanisms.
Cyril Ferrand of FAO describes a situation “ very worrying with more and more clouds forming, creating an unprecedented threat to food security ” Indeed, with the rains, crops on the verge of growing will only have to be devoured by insects. Precipitation which made hundreds of deaths, with floods, landslides, and destruction of all kinds. Lake Victoria, for example, reaches levels never seen before.
And the vicious circle is widening, since the rains have triggered a cholera epidemic in Kenya, with more than 500 sick already.
All of this in the context of Covid-19 which severely strikes fragile economies and hinders humanitarian action. Example in South Sudan, where after an ethnic massacre and hundreds of deaths last weekend, the ICRC says it is very difficult to intervene because of the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus. This means difficulties for transport, travel and the reduction in the number of beds. The organization predicts many more deaths as the wounded cannot be treated.
With our correspondent in Nairobi,