Warning that locust swarms are posing a danger to millions

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The locust crisis that has now reached 10 countries could carry on to endanger millions more people, said Keith Cressman, locust forecasting expert for the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Climate change created unprecedented conditions for the locusts to breed in the usually barren desert of the Arabian gulf, according to experts, and the insects were then able to spread through Yemen, where civil war has devastated the ability to control locust populations.

The FAO has warned that the food security of 25 million people could be endangered by the locusts, which according to the agency’s locust monitoring service have been spotted in at least 10 countries over recent months. One swarm recently reported in Kenya covered an area the size of Luxembourg.

The organisation has requested $140m (£120m) to help fight the ongoing breeding of the insects, predicting that a continuation through late March and April could see the existing number of locusts grow by 400 times by June.

The current crisis is considered the worst in decades, and there are fears it could last longer than previous locust outbreaks.

“This crisis could be quite long because of the Yemeni and Somali areas that cannot control the populations,” said Cyril Piou, an expert with the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development.

He said that in previous decades locust outbreaks had only lasted roughly two years but, without preventive systems, they will last longer, happen more frequently and spread further.

“We are all linked in some way, what is happening somewhere else affects us all,” he said.

Read more via The Guardian

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