The United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is providing an additional $10 million in humanitarian assistance to support regional operations to control locusts in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. The locust invasion has been damaging crops and plants in the three countries for the past several months.
The announcement brings the U.S. government’s regional humanitarian response to the locust outbreak to $19 million. By helping to reduce the size of the swarms, this aid is expected to have a positive impact on affected communities in Ethiopia and throughout the Horn of Africa.
The current outbreak of desert locusts is the worst to hit East Africa in decades. Billions of pests are infesting the region, eating their way through vegetation and livestock pastures. The new funding will support locust detection, surveillance, and control operations across the region, which include ground-based and aerial efforts. These programs are critical to mitigating a potentially larger impact on people’s ability to earn a living and provide food for their families in the future.
USAID has disaster experts in Ethiopia and throughout the region who are assessing humanitarian needs and coordinating response efforts with local governments and humanitarian organizations. They will work closely with these groups to determine whether additional assistance is necessary, based on needs and impact assessments made on the ground.
In addition to supporting the immediate locust control efforts, the United States also provides long-term funding to protect food security and livelihoods for the people of Ethiopia and affected areas in East Africa, as well as to strengthen countries’ capacity to detect, survey, report, and monitor locusts and other agricultural pests.
The United States is the largest bilateral donor to Ethiopia and has invested approximately $4 billion in development and humanitarian assistance over the past five years to help people across the country lead healthier and more prosperous lives.