Swarms of locusts continue to devastate crops across parts of eastern Africa. But a project funded by the Scottish Government has enabled our local partner to reach thousands of people who’ve lost their food and income.
Ethiopia and Somalia are in the midst of the biggest invasion of the insects in 25 years – and Kenya and Uganda are experiencing the worst attacks they have seen for 70 years.
In Ethiopia, agriculture is the backbone of the country’s economy and 80 per cent of the population rely on farming for food and income. Its government has been using helicopters to spray pesticides on the locusts. But, according to officials in the Afar region, the locusts have completely destroyed cattle food and crops covering more than 240,000 hectares.
In response, Tearfund and our partner organisation Friendship Support Association (FSA) have provided 875 families with cash support for life's essentials.
Ali Udda is a father of four, and rears animals for a living. He told us the cash support came at just the right time: ‘We are currently facing so many difficult situations; we lost our crops and pastures due to the massive locust infestation, we are at the peak of the hot season and difficult weather conditions, and the coronavirus pandemic is so scary.
‘But God came to us through FSA and Tearfund to meet our urgent needs. Now at least my family and I will not die due to lack of food! I’m really thankful for this timely support.’
Mr Bate, a Muslim cattle herder, told us his community has faced many challenges, but he is grateful for the support he has received: ‘We have frequent droughts, desert locusts and coronavirus. The cows are gone, we have fewer camels, and our goats are producing less milk. Our main food is camel’s milk, but now there is only enough for the little children.
'Now at least my family and I will not die due to lack of food!'
‘Thank you for being an angel, supporting us in this challenging time. Thank you for your kindness. Your generosity and support are an encouraging reminder of God’s divine intervention.’
Mesfin Abebe, from Tearfund’s team in Ethiopia, explains a little more about the context the country is facing: ‘Ethiopia is in a very precarious position as it is sandwiched between fighting coronavirus, the locust infestation and flash flooding. On top of that, the economy seems to be overstretched beyond its capacity to recover.
‘We need prayers and a renewed hope amid all these challenges.’
Thankfully, more funding has become available for another project to help locust-affected communities in the Amaro Woreda area of Ethiopia. This will be launched in the coming weeks.
- Praise God that our partner, FSA, has been able to access funding to help farming communities who have lost so much after the locust swarms.
- Pray for communities to recover from this disaster, rebuild their lives and restore their hope.
- Ask God to give wisdom and guidance to Ethiopia’s leaders as they face challenges on many fronts.