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Food Insecurity

The most serious locust outbreak in 25 years is spreading across East Africa, threatening food supplies

The insects fly together by the millions and are devouring crops

africa-locust-outbreak Two men who work for a county disaster team identifying the location of the locusts, are surrounded by a swarm of desert locusts filling the air, near the village of Sissia, in Samburu county, Kenya. AP / PA Images AP / PA Images / PA Images

THE MOST SERIOUS outbreak of desert locusts in 25 years is spreading across East Africa and posing an unprecedented threat to food security in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries, authorities say.

Unusual climate conditions are partly to blame.

The locust swarms hang like shimmering dark clouds on the horizon in some places.

Roughly the length of a finger, the insects fly together by the millions and are devouring crops and forcing people in some areas to wade through them.

An “extremely dangerous increase” in locust swarm activity has been reported by officials in Kenya this week.

africa-locust-outbreak A Samburu boy uses a wooden stick to try to swat a swarm of desert locusts filling the air, as he herds his camel near the village of Sissia. Patrick Ngugi / AP/Press Association Images Patrick Ngugi / AP/Press Association Images / AP/Press Association Images

One swarm measured 37 miles long by 25 miles wide in the north-east of the country, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) said in a statement.

“A typical desert locust swarm can contain up to 150 million locusts per square kilometre,” it said.

“Swarms migrate with the wind and can cover 100 to 150 kilometres in a day. An average swarm can destroy as much food crops in a day as is sufficient to feed 2,500 people.”

The outbreak of desert locusts, considered the most dangerous locust species, also has affected parts of Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea and the IGAD warned that parts of South Sudan and Uganda could be

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