(ORDO NEWS) — Coronavirus is not the only thing that affects East Africa. In a global pandemic, people in this region of the world are also facing another “extremely serious” threat to their lives: locusts.
After one of the rainiest years in history, these insatiable insects have been gathering strength since 2019, as weather conditions allow them to breed from generation to generation.
Swarms of trillions of individuals destroy precious pastures and crops from Kenya to Ethiopia and Yemen, up to parts of northern India.
While many are rightly concerned about the possible hunger and economic consequences of these clusters, entomologist Dino Martins sees them as an existential warning from nature.
“No matter how terrible and dramatic the consequences, ” he said in a recent conversation at Harvard Gazette, “we see that we are changing the environment.”
Martins works at the Mpala Research Center in northern Kenya, and he says there is no doubt about it: environmental degradation, overgrazing, deforestation and expansion of deserts create ideal conditions for locust breeding.
The first large swarms appeared at the end of last year, after unusually warm and humid weather, and totaled hundreds of billions. April will come, the next generation will reach trillions of individuals. The third generation is expected to take off in July this year in even greater numbers.
“When you are in a swarm, especially if it is moving, it’s really incredible,” Martins said.
In the end, climate change is changing our weather conditions and bringing more rain to the part of the world where locusts breed.
In combination with COVID-19, this can lead to disastrous consequences for the local population and food security.
Argentina is also struggling with a separate swarm of huge locusts threatening to spread to Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil. Experts suspect that this event may also be related to climate change.
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