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East and Horn of Africa: Integrated Food Security Phase Classification and Desert Locust Infestation Snapshot | 12 February 2020

Desert locusts could worsen food insecurity in East and Horn of Africa
©FAO/Sven Torfinn

The East and Horn of Africa region is currently facing one of the worst infestations of desert locusts - whose destructive impact is likely to cause large-scale crop damage and worsen food insecurity in countries already affected by recurrent drought, conflict and high food prices. Desert locust swarms first invaded the Horn of Africa at the end of June 2019 when spring-bred swarms arrived from Yemen in northeast Ethiopia and northern Somalia. Unusually favourable weather conditions have allowed desert locusts to continue to breed and spread, despite control operations.

Based on the current and projected analyses by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), more than 10 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Sudan, who are already facing severe food insecurity in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse, are located in areas currently affected by the desert locust infestations. A further 3.24 million severely food insecure people in Uganda and South Sudan, are also under threat, bringing the total number of the population at risk to over 13 million. Key drivers including: two consecutive failed rainy seasons, drought, torrential rains, flooding, ongoing conflict, and economic shocks, have left millions of people severely food insecure in this region. Experts say swarms could swell further in Somalia and Ethiopia.

This threat will be further exacerbated by the breeding of new locusts in the region that has already commenced. Experts fear that by June 2020 swarms could swell, placing 3.24 million already food insecure people in South Sudan and Uganda at further risk if more action to control the infestation and mitigate its damage is not taken.

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