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.
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.”
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.
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.