Addis Ababa, February 25/2020 The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated 10 million USD to help the Food and Agriculture Organization fight against the Desert Locust upsurge in East Africa .
FAO Director-General QU Dongyu welcomed the 10 million donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support the fight against the Desert Locust upsurge in East Africa as the UN agency expanded its appeal.
The donation would assist FAO which supports governments in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia to combat locust infestation that is posing a significant threat to food production and livelihood in the region, a press statement of the organization said.
FAO Director-General QU Dongyu thanked the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for its generous support as the Desert Locust threatens to provoke a humanitarian crisis, further ” urging other donors to follow their lead so we can protect rural livelihood and assist farmers and their families.”
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.
FAO has now raised its appeal to 138 million USD from the initial 76 million USD a month ago, in urgent funding to assist the countries that have been impacted. So far 33 million USD has been pledged or received, it was learned.
According to the director-general, the situation was extremely alarming and the next few weeks would be critical for mounting an effective containment operation.
“The upsurge is threatening people’s livelihood and food security in a region that is already seriously food insecure,” he stressed. “There is no time to waste.”
The Desert Locust is considered the most destructive migratory plant pest in the world and a small swarm covering one square kilometer can eat the same amount of food in one day as 35,000 people. Under the right weather conditions, they reproduce rapidly and the population could multiply 500 times in the next six months.