Somalia declares national emergency over locust swarms

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locust swarms
Swarms of desert locusts fly up into the air from crops in Katitika village, Kitui county, Kenya Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Desert locusts have swarmed into Kenya by the hundreds of millions from Somalia and Ethiopia, countries that haven't seen such numbers in a quarter-century, destroying farmland and threatening an already vulnerable region. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Somalia has declared a national emergency as large swarms of locusts spread across east Africa.

The country’s Ministry of Agriculture said the insects, which consume large amounts of vegetation, posed a major threat to Somalia’s fragile food security situation.

There are fears that the situation may not be brought under control before the harvest begins in April.

The UN says the swarms are the largest in Somalia and Ethiopia in 25 years.

Meanwhile, neighbouring Kenya has not seen a locust threat as severe in 70 years, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

However, Somalia is the first country in the region to declare an emergency over the infestation.