Deseret Locust threatens over 1.3 million people
A parliamentary report on the assessment of the socio-economic impact of the persistent desert locust in Ethiopia indicated that at least 1.3 million people are in danger of food insecurity.
The joint report by the House of People’s Representatives’ (HPR) agricultural, pastoralists, and environmental protection affairs, and Foreign Relation and Peace affairs standing committees, pointed out that over 870,000 hectares of farmland has been damaged by locust swarms.
The lawmakers’ assessment was conducted in Oromia, Amhara and Afar regional states, and Dire-Dawa City administration for ten consecutive days. The committees presented their finding in the presence of House speaker, Tagese Chafo, and other government officials.
The impact of the locust swarm invasion exceeds 468,000 hectares of farm-land in the East and West Harerge zones of Oromia regions, putting the livelihoods of close to 500,000 people in danger.
The swarm has also damaged harvest on close to 392,000 hectares of farmland and threatens the lives of over 795,000 farmers in the Amhara region, largely in Northern and Southern Wollo zonal administration, along with the Oromo special zone of the region.
Dire-Dawa City is also struggling with the locust swarm, and so far, the swarm has damaged over 5,200 hectares of farmland jeopardizing the lives of 48,000 people. The report further pointed out that the damage the locust swarm inflicted in Afar region is proportional to that of Dire Dawa’s.
While responding to questions from members of parliament on how preventive measures are progressing, Minister of Agriculture, Umer Hussein spoke of the Ministry's ongoing efforts to procure additional planes to conduct survey and undertake aerial spraying in selected places along with its plan to distribute 35,000 tablets for communication with lower tiers of government officials for swift measures against a sudden onset of locust swarms.