Africa faces a “triple disaster”: covid-19, floods and a plague of locusts

International organizations warn of an “exceptionally complex” and “unprecedented” humanitarian situation in the region, which can lead to very serious consequences for their population.

East Africa is suffering the consequences of a series of natural disasters that threaten to increase the risk of the spread of the new coronavirus, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warned this week.

In addition to covid-19, another element of this “triple disaster” has been the heavy rains that punish the region this spring and caused flooding and landslides in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Rwanda and Tanzania, killing some 300 people and forcing the displacement of more than half a million.

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“We are facing an exceptionally complex humanitarian situation. We are concerned that the number of people who are hungry and sick will increase in the coming weeks as floods and covid-19 continue to severely affect the ability of many families in the region to resist,” said IFRC Regional Director for Africa Simon Missiri.

The rise of the water has left thousands homeless. Many of those who have been displaced now have to seek refuge in temporary accommodation centers where it is not easy, or even impossible, to maintain physical estrangement.

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The worst locust crisis in the last 25 years

On the other hand, flooding complicated operations to control the locust pest that originated in the Horn of Africa, which is considered the worst crisis in the last 25 years.

“The expansion of the crisis, which has the potential to become a regional plague, poses an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods in the region and could lead to more suffering, displacement and potential conflict,” the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) warns.

The institution warns that the situation is particularly alarming in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, where there has been a massive reproduction of insects and new swarms are beginning to form.

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According to FAO, this jeopardizes the start of the growing season and poses an unprecedented threat to livelihoods in an extremely vulnerable region, where more than 20 million people are already facing severe food insecurity.

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