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Gates Foundation Donates Sh1 Billion to Fight Locust Invasion in East Africa

Kenya and other East African nations now have a new ally in the struggle against the desert locust

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated Sh1 billion to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to combat locust infestation in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

Gregarious locusts congregate on some ground vegetation at Larisoro village near Archers Post, on January 21, 2020. – The outbreak of desert locusts, considered the most dangerous locust species, is significant and extremely dangerous warned the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation ,Monday, describing the infestation as an eminent threat to food security in months to come if control measures are not taken (Photo by TONY KARUMBA / AFP) (Photo by TONY KARUMBA/AFP via Getty Images)

The FAO is a specialized UN agency that leads international efforts to defeat hunger and improve nutrition and food security.

“I want to thank the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for its generous support as the Desert Locust threatens to provoke a humanitarian crisis,” Qu said.  “I urge other donors to follow their lead so we can protect rural livelihoods and assist farmers and their families.”

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In Kenya, swarms have caused massive destruction in more than 20 counties, including Isiolo, Meru, Embu, Kitui, Samburu, Nyeri, Kisumu among others. The latest region affected is Western Kenya.

The latest locust outbreak is the worst to strike Ethiopia and Somalia for 25 years and the worst infestation that Kenya has experienced in 70 years.

According to FAO’s Desert Locust Watch, Djibouti and Eritrea are also affected, and swarms have spread to the south east of South Sudan and the northern edges of Uganda and Tanzania and as far as the south-west coast of Iran.

FAO has now raised its appeal to $138 million, from the initial $76 million a month ago, in urgent funding to assist the countries that have been impacted. So far $33 million has been pledged or received.

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