Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) received €11 million contribution from the European Union as the UN agency steps up efforts to fight the desert locust outbreak.
FAO Director-General QU Dongyu received the contribution to help fight the locust upsurge which has now spread from East Africa to the Persian Gulf.
The European Commission announced that €10 million would come from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO). While another €1 million will come from the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).
“I want to thank the European Union for its generosity and support as the Desert Locust threatens to provoke a humanitarian crisis in East Africa,” Qu said.
Qu also added that the situation is extremely alarming in a region where 20 million people are already considered food insecure.
The locust outbreak is the worst in the last 25 years for Ethiopia and Somalia and the worst infestation that Kenya has experienced in 70 years. Eritrea and Djibouti have also been affected while swarms have been reported in South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania.
Earlier this week there was a new development as strong winds brought swarms of desert Locusts to both sides of the Persian Gulf to Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar reaching as far as southwest Iran.
“We must urgently scale up action to protect rural livelihoods and assist farmers and their families,” Qu said. “There is no time to waste.”
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has appealed for $138 million in urgent funding to assist the affected countries. So far only $52 million has been received.
Briefing the European Parliament’s Committee on Development in Brussels, Dominique Burgeon, FAO’s Director of Emergencies and Resilience said “It is an extreme situation. We have a window of opportunity to bring this under control.”
To protect rural livelihoods, the United Nations (UN) agency is also preparing action by providing affected growers with farming packages, veterinary care for vegetation-starved livestock and money for families who have lost their crops for them to purchase food.
Out of the $138 million, FAO has proposed the following amounts to help fight the outbreak: Djibouti $1,965,000, Eritrea $8,500,000, Kenya $22,100,000, Somalia $32,200,000, Ethiopia $50,500,000, South Sudan $ 8,650,000, Tanzania $505,000 and Uganda $8,580,000.