But the swarms of insects were so ruthless that her entire crop — her family’s only source of income — was destroyed.
“They never left in a week. We are left with an empty crop, we tie our waists and cry day and night. How can I (feed) … my children like that,” she said, surrounded by five of them as she held a bundle. damaged sorghum.
The invasion of locusts is the worst in Ethiopia in 25 years, according to the UN Food Agency FAO.
Since January, about 200,000 hectares of land there have been damaged, threatening food supplies – a swarm of one square kilometer can eat as much food a day as 35,000 people ̵
It is part of a series of swarms that have plagued East Africa and the Red Sea since late 2019, with the coronavirus pandemic exacerbating the crisis this year, disrupting FAO’s supply chain for pesticides and other equipment to fight them.
“The biggest challenge now in the region is here in Ethiopia, and we are working on that together with our partners like FAO,” said Stephen Neuka, director of the East Africa Organization for East Africa.
The conflict and chaos in Yemen, where some swarms originate, have made it impossible to spray pesticides by plane at the source. This, combined with unusually heavy rains, swelled the swarms spreading in Ethiopia.
The World Bank said the insects could cost East Africa and Yemen $ 8.5 billion this year, and FAO Ethiopia’s Fatuma Seid fears the pattern of destruction will be repeated next year.
“The attack will continue in 2021. We are reinvaded and the swarms will then go to Kenya,” she said.