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Horn of Africa to face unprecedented threat to food security, warns UN agency

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the UN said the region had five million children under the age of five who were acutely malnourished.

Gregarious locusts congregate on some ground vegetation at Larisoro village near Archers Post, on 21 January 2020. Picture: AFP

PRETORIA - The United Nations (UN) has warned of an unprecedented threat to food security in the Horn of Africa.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the UN said the region had five million children under the age of five who were acutely malnourished.

The Horn of Africa is facing the COVID-19 pandemic, a plague of locusts, and seasonal flooding.

The FAO said swarms of desert locusts were forming and maturing in Kenya and Ethiopia.

The hoppers being born under ideal breeding conditions would be fully formed locusts flying and landing on crops in June and July, which is the height of the harvest.

Insecticide stocks were exhausted and could not be replenished because of the COVID-19 pandemic which is spreading through the region three times faster than it was a month ago.