The WaterBlog

Introduction: Understanding, responding to the Desert Locust Crisis

The world is reasonably aware of the scale of ongoing locust outbreaks (2019-20) in East Asia and West Africa, and the magnitude of its immediate impact. What needs to be improved is our understanding of how we got here; what could be the long-term effects; and what could be effective response strategies. Locust invasions are stuff of nightmares. We know them from Abrahamic mythology as agents of God’s wrath, sent down from time-to-time as divine punishment for human sins.  Even the less theological view of locusts is based in fear, evoked partly by the unpredictability of swarm invasions, and partly by the lack of response options when they arrive. Contrary to this impression, desert locust outbreaks (albeit smaller than the 2019-20 ones) are fairly common over about 20% of the earth’s surface, occurring almost every year in desert areas across North Africa, the Middle East region, and southwestern Asia.  There is an extensive Early Warning and mitigation systems in place,… Continued

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