Desert locusts: The world’s most dangerous pest

Desert locusts: The world’s most dangerous pest | ChildFund New Zealand

When you rely on farming to provide food and income for your family, even the slightest environmental threat can be completely life changing. Now, imagine if everything that you’ve worked so tirelessly to grow completely disappears, right before your eyes. 

This is the current situation for thousands of families living in Eastern Africa. Massive swarms of desert locusts have been migrating through communities in Ethiopia, Uganda, Somalia and Kenya, claiming all vegetation and leaving nothing in their paths.

Desert locusts are considered to be the world’s most dangerous migratory pest - for good reason. Even small swarms of locusts can consume the same amount of vegetation that thousands of people could eat in a single day. But, not all swarms are small: a large swarm in northeast Kenya was estimated to be more than 2,000 square kilometers in size, consisting of between 100- and 200-billion locusts.

There are 15 regions in Kenya that have been affected by the current locus infestations. ChildFund has long-term community development programmes in 11 of these regions. Our early estimates suggest that more than 8,000 sponsored children and their families have been affected, with even more communities – and thousands more children - in the path to destruction.

Since the invasion of the locusts, the crops and vegetation that had started sprouting in Kenya has been destroyed, and there have been no reports of farmers being able to salvage any of the usual harvests in the impacted communities.

ChildFund is responding to the locust invasion by offering emergency food and nutrition programmes for children and pregnant women in Kenya.