The Swarm That Is Destroying Africa


Hector Garza Gonzalez

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Elijah Carson, OwlFeed News Editor

A dangerous plague has swarmed Africa and destroyed everything in its path, but not in the way that you think. 

In recent news, people have connected it to other disease outbreaks such as the recent outbreak of the Covid-19, coronavirus. However, this isn’t the case. In actuality, plagues are things that cause continual trouble or distress. What is the plague? Simply locusts.

The first news about the outbreak was reported around late January where news of a horde of locusts was so powerful that it threw an Ethiopian Airplane off course. Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti are battling the worst locust outbreak in decades, and swarms have also spread into Tanzania, Uganda and now South Sudan. Reports estimate that this is the worst outbreak in 70 years. 

The United Nations stated, “Desert locusts can travel up to 150km (95 miles) in a day and eat their own body weight in greenery, meaning a swarm just one-kilometer square can eat as much food as 35,000 people in a day.” This can cause the locust to mature and start looking for breeding grounds that will form the basis of the next major infestation. 

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Unfortunately, Africa isn’t doing too well with its food supplies. When looking for an official report, Dominique Burgeon, director of emergencies for the United Nations’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said last week that major food assistance may be required. 

The FAO estimates the insects could grow up to 500 times its population by June, the BBC reported. Burgeon has called upon the international community to provide nearly $76 million to fund the aerial spraying of pesticides.

Teams planned to mark the place where they laid eggs and then come back to kill the young insects in 14 days,  said Meshack Malo, South Sudan’s representative for the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Poisoning the eggs in the ground could damage the soil. 

According to statistics given by the FAO, at least 2,000 locusts have crossed the border, the representative said. During each three-month breeding cycle, a single locust can breed 20 more, giving rise to the massive swarms that are now threatening crops on either side of the Red Sea.

Investigators are trying solutions to destroy the horde and trying to remedy the loss that damaged Africa. However, civilians wonder if what officials are doing will help them, or is it too late to restore the resources to keep Africa the great continent it once was?