In these sustained weather conditions, new generations of locusts can breed within three months – and each generation brings with it a 20-fold increase of locusts. This could be catastrophic for people and economies across East Africa, causing food supplies to run critically low. Without crops, cows and goats will simply collapse from starvation and waste away. The UN has said that more than 20 million people living in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia could be affected.
In May and October 2018, two devastating cyclones hit East Africa. The heavy rainfall that followed provided the moist conditions desert locusts require to breed. Warmer seas caused by climate change could lead to more cyclones, which in turn could lead to an increase in species of locusts such as this – and an increase in frenzied, cross-continental swarms searching for food. Without interventions, these swarms could last for years until the pests naturally die off.
The potential for destruction from the locust swarms is enormous – endangering people’s lives both now and long into the future. That’s why we’ve launched our East Africa Locust Emergency Appeal, which is supporting affected families with the food, seeds and agricultural tools they need to survive and rebuild their lives.