Worst locust outbreak in 25 years in Ethiopia
At the end of a tough farming season, Ethiopian farmer Leila Mohammed was looking ready to harvest her millet crop with a sense of pride.
As she was drafting plans and calculating profits, she saw gigantic swarms of locusts like a cloud approaching the fields. All her efforts of waving a piece of cloth to beating steel plates to drive the swarm away failed. Within minutes all the hard labor of months and money she had invested to grow crops were ruined by little monsters.
Residing in Somali province, 50 kilometers (31 miles), north of the regional capital Jijjiga, Mohammed with his six children is looking at a bleak future and starving days ahead.
“They have destroyed my crop. I do not know what to do. We have lost food and battle against desert locusts,” she told Anadolu Agency.
She recalls that it was like a giant tornado flying high in the sky. Then they lost heights, starting descending and devastated crops.
The region has seen a second such attack from insects last weekend during the current farming season.
“Just last week, this area was sprayed with chemicals and the swarms got paralyzed. But look at them, they have come again to destroy whatever little had been left,” said Siba Aden Mohammed, a local official serving at Awbare district of Fafen zone.
While moving around, telling devastation is visible. Farms, where crops like millet, wheat, and chickpea were standing tall and awaiting harvest are empty, with farmers cursing their luck in desperation.
A vast blanket of dark brown winged insects has covered huge tracts of farmlands. As farmers try to remove them, they fly but soon return to sap the last grain of crop left in the field.
According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), since January, swarms of desert locusts have damaged over 200,000 hectares of cropland in Ethiopia affecting the food security of millions of people.
Courtesy of aa.com.tr