The World Bank has pledged $ 500 million to fight locust in East Africa and the Middle East.
David Malpass, President of the World Bank, announced that the pledge would mix grants and loans. This move, he said, was in a bid to avert the crisis unfolding in the region.
So far, East African countries are battling locusts in addition to COVID-19 and floods. The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down efforts to fight locusts that had started from late February.
The current locust invasion the worst in the region in 70 years and has affected 23 countries so far.
The locusts are decimating food that would leave over 22.5 million people in the region facing food insecurity. They will also leave behind substantial economic devastation, with World bank putting the damage at $ 8.5 billion if interventions are not comprehensive.
East Africa to get $ 160 million
In the breakdown of the figure, World Bank said that $ 160 million would go to Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda. However, the list did not include Somalia, which is also hard hit by the invasion.
The swarm of billions of locusts is entering its second wave as the new generation of locusts matures, with their figures 20 times the initial wave.
The first wave entered the region in mid-December, with Kenya experiencing its invasion towards the end of December.
The swarms made an appearance in at least 25 counties, with the new swarm, laid in Samburu and Isiolo regions, now beginning to consume food in the area.
However, so far, the wind has kept them from travelling southwards. But this could spell doom for farmers in the affected regions.
The intervention from the World Bank comes when all countries are now diverting their resources towards fighting COVID-19.
Economic activity has slowed down in almost all countries. The pledge would be critical in averting a food crisis, especially since not much is going on to cover for the losses.