East Africa Locusts

Billions of locusts have infested East Africa. USAID is working to control the outbreak now to help mitigate future impacts.
Sven Torfinn/FAO

Key Developments

USAID is responding to the worst locust outbreak in East Africa in decades. Billions of locusts have infested multiple countries in the region, eating their way through vegetation and livestock pastures. With our partners, we are supporting regional locust control operations in EthiopiaKenya, and Somalia - the countries that have been hit hardest.

These efforts include ground and aerial pest control, training pest control experts and scouts, and providing protective equipment - all of which are critical to mitigating a potentially larger impact on people's ability to provide food for their families in the future.

The next generation of locusts is expected to emerge in late March through April, coinciding with the spring planting season. While the locusts have not yet impacted food security, emergency food assistance needs are expected to increase in the latter half of 2020. Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia remain the most heavily impacted, with bands of hoppers—immature, wingless locusts—and adult locust swarms devouring vegetation in multiple areas; mature desert locusts continue to breed in all three countries.

USAID is providing $19 million to scale up pest control operations through direct interventions and local capacity building in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. The U.S. declared disasters for Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya due to the potential humanitarian impact.  

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has issued an appeal for $138 million to scale up efforts to curb the spread of desert locust swarms, protect livelihoods and bolster early recovery, and improve response coordination and preparedness in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia and surrounding countries through the end of 2020. 


Last updated: March 20, 2020

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