Monday, 04 July, 2022

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2020 in review: Locusts devastated agricultural activities in East Africa

The paucity of rainfall in 2019 impacted many parts of East Africa.

In 2020, the consequence of this scenario impacted agricultural activities negatively as locusts invaded large tracts of farmlands in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda.

These were some of the findings by the Christian Aid – a British humanitarian organization in its report titled: Counting the cost 2020 -Counting the cost 2020: A year of Climate breakdown

It said the economic impact was humungous.

The World Bank estimates that losses could amount to $8.5
billion due to crop losses and other “economic, human, and
environmental impacts

Corroborating the grim situation, the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) said the locust invasion was the worst outbreak in 25 years for East Africa – and in Kenya for 70 years.

Climate change and extreme weather events were relevant factors
behind the outbreak.

Locusts thrive in wet conditions, and outbreaks often follow floods and cyclones, which were very frequent in East Africa a year ago.

The Horn of Africa was hit by eight cyclones25 and Mozambique by two.26 These events were linked to changes in the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), an ocean circulation pattern that affects the climate in the region. The positive phase of the IOD in 2019 was the strongest for six decades, and was responsible for the extreme rains experienced in East Africa.”

Christian Aid

Scientists predict that, as the planet warms, these strong positive
phases of the IOD will become more common, bringing more
flooding, cyclones and pests, to already vulnerable and food
insecure regions.

Africa is the continent that has contributed the least to global
warming, but also the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate