Swelled by rain and COVID curbs, locust swarms ravage Ethiopia
By Tiksa Negeri KOMBOLCHA, Ethiopia (Reuters) - Widow-of-ten Marima Wadisha screamed, threw rocks and in her desperation even fired bullets at the locusts that descended on her sorghum fields in northeast Ethiopia. But the insect swarms were so relentless that her entire crop - her family's only source of income - was destroyed. 'They never left for a week
By Tiksa Negeri
KOMBOLCHA, Ethiopia (Reuters) - Widow-of-ten Marima Wadisha screamed, threw rocks and in her desperation even fired bullets at the locusts that descended on her sorghum fields in northeast Ethiopia.
But the insect swarms were so relentless that her entire crop - her family's only source of income - was destroyed.
"They never left for a week. We are left with an empty harvest, we tie our waist and cry day and night. How can (I) feed ... my children like this," she said, surrounded by five of them as she held a bundle of damaged sorghum.
The locust invasion is Ethiopia's worst in 25 years, United Nations food agency FAO says.
It has damaged an estimated 200,000 hectares of land there since January, threatening food supplies - a single square kilometre swarm can eat as much food in a day as 35,000 people - and the livelihoods of millions.
It is part of a once-in-a-lifetime succession of swarms that have plagued East Africa and the Red Sea region since late 2019, with the coronavirus pandemic exacerbating the crisis this year by disrupting the FAO's supply chain of pesticides and other equipment to fight them off.
"The biggest challenge now in the region is here, in Ethiopia and we are working on that together with our partners like the FAO," said the Desert Locust Control Organization's Eastern Africa Director for Eastern Africa Stephen Njoka.
Conflict and chaos in Yemen, where some of the swarms originated, have made spraying pesticide by airplane at source impossible. That combined with unusually heavy rains have swelled the swarms spreading across Ethiopia.
The World Bank has said the insects could cost East Africa and Yemen $8.5 billion this year, and the FAO's Ethiopia representative Fatouma Seid fears the pattern of destruction will be repeated next year.
"Infestation will continue into 2021. We are being re-invaded and the swarms will then go to Kenya," she said.
(Reporting by Tiksa Negeri; Writing by Giulia Paravicini; Editing by Maggie Fick and John Stonestreet)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
By Chuck Mikolajczak NEW YORK (Reuters) - A gauge of global stocks hit a record and oil prices jumped on Monday as the newest positive data for a potential COVID-19 vaccine and signs of economic recovery in Asia boosted sentiment. U.S. stocks advanced, with the Dow Industrials setting a record as it neared the 30,000 mark for the first time, after pharma company Moderna said its prospective vaccine was 94.5% effective in preventing the illness, which has crushed economies across the globe
By Anirban Sen and Joshua Franklin (Reuters) - Airbnb Inc's initial public offering (IPO) registration showed on Monday that the home rental startup turned a profit in the third quarter despite the COVID-19 pandemic, as it gears up for one of the most anticipated stock market debuts in recent years. The filing, published ahead of Airbnb's anticipated stock market debut in December, showed a dramatic recovery in its fortunes, after the coronavirus outbreak dragged down its core home rental business during the first half of the year. The slump forced it to lay off 25% of its workforce in May, suspend marketing activities for the year and seek $2 billion (£1.5 billion) emergency funding from investors, including Silver Lake and Sixth Street Partners, at a valuation of $18 billion
By David Lawder WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Joe Biden said on Monday the United States needed to negotiate with allies to set global trading rules to counter China's growing influence but declined to say whether he would join a new China-backed Asian trade pact signed on Sunday.