NAIROBI, 14 November 2020 – Farmers across East Africa have been hit with what the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) calls the worst outbreak of desert locusts in a quarter of a century.

Food shortages are a new and life-threatening reality to hundreds of thousands of already food insecure people.

Emergency response teams have started using drones in Kenya’s Samburu to spray desert locusts that have ravaged pasturelands and crops across the region.

FAO Special Programs Chief Officer Daniel Lesaigor told reporters that the drone program was effective notably because it sprays the locusts upon sighting them.

This is the first time FAO is using drones to combat the pests.

Samburu has been hit in recent years by persisted droughts followed by floods that caused significant crop failures, worsening food shortages for over 130,000 people.

The current invasion of millions of the voracious insects has blanketed the region for more than 11 months already.

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