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In the news: Somalia’s no-go zones frustrate locust control

A boy holds a mature locust. Obi Anyadike/TNH
Desert locust swarms in Kenya are crossing the border from Somalia. A boy holds a mature locust – ready for egg-laying – in his hands.

Aid agencies in Somalia are struggling to control waves of locusts before the start of the April planting season, in a country where over two million people are already short of food.

Unusually heavy rains late last year favoured breeding, triggering the current locust outbreak, which is the worst Ethiopia and Somalia have faced in 25 years – and the most extreme Kenya has experienced for 70 years.

Locust control teams in Somalia do not have access to the southern and central regions controlled by the jihadist group al-Shabab, and aerial spraying has also been ruled out.

Aid workers told TNH they are trying to open talks with the militants regarding access. Look out next week for another locust update.

Obi Anyadike

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