Swarms of hungry locusts bring potential for famine during coronavirus.

WATCH: Efforts to contain an upsurge of swarming locusts in East Africa continue despite restrictions on movement and equipment imposed by governments as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the coronavirus pandemic, there’s another plague happening: swarms of hungry locusts.

The species of grasshopper have a big appetite for teff, wheat and sorghum, Vox reports, and as they sweep across parts of Africa, South Asia and the Middle East, they’re threatening famine while these areas continue to fight against the highly contagious respiratory virus.

The threat is so serious that the World Bank has approved a record-breaking $500 million in grants and low-interest loans to battle the swarms. According to Reuters, the hardest-hit countries — Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda — will receive $160 million right away.

Photos show skylines and fields full of clouds of the flying locusts. In some images, children can be seen swatting at them. In another, officials spray insecticide on plants in hopes of protecting them from being eaten.

“The Horn of Africa finds itself at the epicentre of the worst locust outbreak we have seen in a generation, most probably in more than a generation,” senior World Bank official Holger Kray told Reuters, noting the coronavirus pandemic is making the crisis worse.

The World Bank estimates that the Horn of Africa region could suffer up to $8.5 billion in lost crops and livestock production by the end of the year.

Trending Stories

  • Religious leaders ‘outraged’ over Trump photo op at D.C. church amid George Floyd protests

  • George Floyd: What we know about the arrest, video and investigation

Even with measures in place, the losses could still be as high as $2.5 billion, Reuters says.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

In Kenya, the locusts are eating in one day the amount of food consumed by all Kenyans in two days, Kray said.

Because the pandemic is affecting the supply chain, it’s been harder for nations to protect themselves from the swarms, Business Insider reports.

“The biggest challenge we are facing at the moment is the supply of pesticides, and we have delays because global air freight has been reduced significantly,” Cyril Ferrand, a team leader for the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, said in a press release.

In one day, locusts can eat the same amount as 35,000 people. They are able to travel up to 150 kilometres in a day in groups as large as 250 kilometres wide.

— With files from Reuters

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.


© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Related news

Woman Running Shelter For Wartime Sex Slaves Found Dead In South Korea.

A woman running a shelter for South Korean victims of Japan's wartime sexual slavery has been found dead in her home, police said Sunday, amid a widening probe into a corruption scandal involving its...

Man Dies After Shark Bites Off Leg At A Popular Beach In Australia.

A surfer has died after being attacked by a three-metre shark at a popular beach off Australia's east coast, police said Sunday.

1 11

US Records 749 Coronavirus Deaths In Last 24 Hours: Report.

The coronavirus pandemic killed 749 people in the United States in the past 24 hours, according to figures released Saturday by Johns Hopkins University.

Brazil takes down months of coronavirus data from website as COVID-19 deaths rise.

Bolsonaro has played down the dangers of the pandemic, replaced medical experts in the Health Ministry with military officials and argued against state lockdowns to fight the virus, hobbling the country's public health response.

2 2

‘Cry for freedom’: Thousands turn out to Black Lives Matter vigil in Calgary on Saturday.

Calgarians packed Olympic Plaza for a Black Lives Matter vigil on Saturday, making their voices heard on abolishing racism and police brutality.

By continuing to browse World News (UAZMI), you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and agree to the use of cookies