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Around 365,015 hectares of cropland have been destroyed by a desert locust invasion, the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) has disclosed.

Desert locust swarm
Desert locust swarm

“Ethiopia is experiencing its worst desert locust outbreak in 25 years, which exacerbates an already alarming food security and nutrition situation,” the UNOCHA said in a press statement issued Friday, March 5, 2021.

“The desert locust invasion has so far damaged 365,015 hectares of cropland across multiple regions, devastating crops and livelihoods in at least 76 localities in the country,” the office added.

The UNOCHA report warned desert locust infestation could persist for much of the rest of 2021, with incidences of swarms causing damage to crops and pasture.

The UNOCHA report also disclosed since the first wave of desert locust invasion was detected at the end of 2019, it has spread to more than 170 localities, which are home to more than 16 million people.

Since 2019, Ethiopia has been suffering from the worst desert locust invasion in about 25 years, affecting major crop-producing parts of the country.

The desert locust, which is considered as 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 km, according to the United Nations.

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