Japan contributes $7.5 million to help fight locust swarms in East Africa
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomed a contribution of US$7.5 million from the Government of Japan to help support vulnerable people in three East African countries hit by locust swarms feeding off crops.
Of the total contribution, US$3.6 million is allocated to Kenya, US$3.1 million to Somalia and US$800,000 to Djibouti. The funding for the three countries facing food shortages due to locusts, will be used for food distribution, nutrition support and to enhance the resilience of small-scale farmers against natural disasters.
“We are very grateful for the generous support by the Government of Japan to respond swiftly to the crisis,” said Naoe Yakiya, Director of WFP Japan Office. “It is vital to provide support to the most vulnerable in the region who have been already hit by climate shocks and conflict.”
The desert locust is considered the most dangerous migratory pest in the world. The current upsurge, which started in 2019, is the worst in 25 years in Ethiopia and Somalia, and the worst in 70 years in Kenya.
A wave of desert locusts in East Africa is forming new swarms in parts of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia, putting at risk the main harvest in May and June, and threatening people’s food security.
More than 13 million people across East Africa already suffer from severe food insecurity. A lot of locust-affected communities in the region have also been hit by conflict. The COVID-19 pandemic is now adding to the suffering of particularly the poorest and most vulnerable in East Africa.