Dense swarms of locusts (Schistocerca gregaria) that block sunlight are arriving in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, threatening the food security of their inhabitants, after causing crop destruction in Africa.
“A swarm the size of Rome can eat enough food in one day as everybody in Kenya,” said Keith Cressman, a senior agricultural officer at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), according to Scientific American.
Desert locusts consume their own body weight in food each day and can travel up to 90 miles in swarms that cloud the atmosphere.
The United Nations FAO is monitoring the impact of swarms of about 360 billion desert locusts.
Several videos recorded the desperation of African inhabitants, who are trying in vain to protect their crops from the invasion of the locust swarms that feed on them.
The pests have also caused tens of millions of dollars worth of damage in East Africa, in one of the worst invasions recorded in many years.
ووين اللي ياكلون الجراد عندنا كمية جراد طازجه😜👍 pic.twitter.com/us1Kgk43Jh
— حمد اليامي (@Hamad21120812) February 2, 2020
The immense reproduction of these insects is triggered by cyclonic rains that create the optimal conditions for their spread.
جراد جراد جراد… pic.twitter.com/jdqZld7I0G
— مناضل (@Maneb35) February 2, 2020
The worst is yet to come as an even larger swarm is expected in April, when it is estimated that it could grow up to 500 times the current size in June.
This insect infestation has caused damage for centuries, destroying much of the agricultural production in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
It is estimated that it seriously affects the quality of life of about one-tenth of the world’s population.