Worst locust infestation for decades
After long periods of drought and continuous rain in East Africa, swarms of desert locusts are spreading at breakneck speed in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti and Eritrea. Southern Sudan and Uganda are also at risk.
The size and destructive potential of the insect swarms are unprecedented.
The swarms in Kenya cover an area of around 2,400 square kilometres - roughly the size of the Saarland - and travel up to 150 kilometres a day.
They destroy harvests and destroy pastureland, threatening to cause famine in the region.
New and larger swarms feared
The locusts are currently in a reproduction phase. Experts fear that new and much larger swarms could develop in April.
Further spread of the insects could lead to widespread famine, displacement and conflicts over the few remaining crop yields.
Even before the plague, around 20 million people were threatened by hunger due to periodic droughts and floods.
Two million euro for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations
The affected states cannot cope with this infestation on their own, the international community must provide Support.
For this reason the Federal Foreign Office has made two million euro available to the Food and Agriculture Programme of the United Nations (FAO) at short notice for emergency aid measures to cope with the plague.
FAO expects a total financial requirement of USD 70 Million.
This will be used to intensify soil and air controls and to initiate measures to protect and secure livelihoods (e.g. through cash aid).