The United Nations has warned if the locust swarms spreading across East Africa are not stopped now it could affect millions of people and cost more than $1bn (£766.5m).
In a stark warning to the world’s governments, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) said it will be vastly more cost effective to raise the $76m (£59m) needed to stop the swarms now instead of dealing with the consequences if it turns into a plague.
It said up to 13 million people’s food security could be further threatened if the pests are not tackled imminently.
The desert locust swarms were first spotted in December in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia and reached Uganda on Sunday, prompting its government to deploy military forces to help with pesticide spraying.
It is the worst locust invasion Kenya has seen in 70 years and the worst in Somalia and Ethiopia in 25 years, with crops destroyed as the insects exploit wet conditions after unusually heavy rains.