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17.02.2021 | Press Release

Threat of a New Plague of Locusts in Kenya

Welthungerhilfe supports families in need

Heuschreckenplage in Kenia, 2020.
Locust infestation in Kenya: A girl in the village of Katitika tries in vain to save the family's modest harvest. © FAO / Sven Torfinn
Simone Pott Team Communications

Bonn/Berlin, 2021-02-16. The plague of locusts in the Horn of Africa is on the rise again, as a new generation of pests is breeding and hatching. In countries like Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya, the next harvest is under threat. This means that families that have been impoverished and weakened by years of crises are sinking even further into a downward spiral of hunger and poverty.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the next generation of locusts threatens the livelihoods of more than 39 million people in Ethiopia, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, and Kenya. Over recent months, the pests have been combated on 1.3 million hectares of land in the Horn of Africa. However, in northern and central Kenya, more than 15 districts, including many new areas, have already been severely affected by the second wave of locusts. Around 1.9 million people were already living in a precarious nutrition situation, which could now dramatically worsen.

“Fortunately not so many locusts are arriving here now. However, we expect the worst if the young hatch in March and April”, explains Kelvin Shingles, Welthungerhilfe Country Director in Kenya. The livelihood of livestock farmers in particular is threatened. After years of droughts, floods, and now the second wave of locusts, they lack the feed for their livestock, and with it the vital income from sales of milk and meat. This situation has heightened conflicts over water and land.

“We will not let these people down, and we are offering them support during the crisis. We rely on donations to do this”, explains Shingles. Working in collaboration with local partner organisations, Welthungerhilfe supports communities in Kenya that are particularly affected by the plague of locusts: They receive cash, new seed, agricultural advice and training, so they themselves can use more environmentally friendly methods to better keep the reproduction of locusts under control.

Our Country Director, Kelvin Shingles, is available for interviews (English).

Welthungerhilfe is one of the largest private aid organisations in Germany; politically independent and non-denominational. It is fighting for “Zero Hunger by 2030”. Since it was founded in 1962, more than 9,830 overseas projects in 70 countries have been supported with €3.95 billion. Welthungerhilfe works on the principle of empowering people to help themselves: from fast disaster relief to reconstruction and long-term development cooperation projects with national and international partner organisations.

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