The director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, and the executive director of the World Food Programme (WFP) have called for increased funding to tackle the swarms of locusts, a UN spokesperson said Tuesday.
Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said that on Jan. 20, the FAO called for 76 million U.S. dollars to help combat this pest, but the resources to control the outbreak have been too slow in coming.
“The officials said that since then, that the locusts continue their invasion throughout eastern Africa, the cost of action has doubled, to 138 million dollars,” Dujarric added. “WFP warned that the cost of responding to the impact of locusts on food security alone will be at least 15 times higher than the cost of preventing the spread now.”
He added 33 million dollars has been received or committed to date.
East Africa is seeing the worst locust infestation in decades. The desert locust, which is considered to be the most dangerous of the nearly one dozen species of locusts, is a major food security peril in desert areas across 20 countries, stretching from west Africa all the way to India, covering nearly 16 million square kilometers, according to the UN. Enditem