Friday, August 21, 2020

Mapping a Plague of Locusts

This year the Horn of Africa has faced the worst locust plague in over 25 years. Parts of Pakistan and India have also experienced their worst locust plagues for over a quarter of a century. The food supplies of 20 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are now severely under threat and crops across parts of East Africa, the Middle East and Asia are being destroyed by swarms of Desert Locusts.

A swarm of Desert Locusts that is 1 square km in size can eat as much food in a day as 35,000 people. This year huge locust swarms emerged in January in east Africa. Since then Desert Locust swarms have devastated crops across large parts of East Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has established the Locust Hub to provide information, maps and resources about the the desert locust problem and on the UN's ongoing response to the problem. The hub includes an interactive map which provides the latest data on the location of locust swarms across Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The Locust Hub also includes a Locust Data Explorer, which allows you to explore the historical movements of the Desert Locust swarms since the beginning of this year.

The Locust Data Explorer uses on-the-ground data reported to the FAO. The FAO has also developed a mobile app version of its eLocust3 tool for recording and monitoring crop pests. The eLocust3m app is available on both Android and IoS, and can be used by anyone to report locust sightings.

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