Tackling the locusts will be even harder now that coronavirus has forced governments to close their borders. With severely reduced air travel and cargo shipping, pesticides from Europe and Asia can’t get into the countries – and to the farmers – that need them. Tearfund is asking governments to recognise activities responding to the locust swarms as essential services, so that they can continue despite the restrictions on travel.
A double threat
In Ethiopia, Tearfund is partnering with the Friendship Support Association (FSA) in Afar, one of the regions heavily affected by locusts.
Emergency cash grants are being given to 875 of the most vulnerable households. This will help more than 5000 people whose lives have been greatly affected by the locust invasion.
They will be able to buy food and other essentials. Parents will also be able to continue to pay school fees so that children aren't forced to drop out and miss out on vital education.
‘The locust plague, together with the coronavirus pandemic, could mean all the work Tearfund supports communities with is on the brink of collapsing,’ says Ephraim Tsegay, Tearfund’s Country Director for Ethiopia.
‘If the second wave of locusts is not prevented before it inflicts further damage, more people will be forced to leave their homes to find food, land for their animals to graze, and an income elsewhere. It will also make people more vulnerable to coronavirus.
‘We’re likely to see more economic insecurity, higher inflation, conflict between communities over getting access to animal feed, and a greater need for emergency food assistance.’
Please protect people who are facing a new wave of locusts in East Africa. In your mercy, may the swarms disperse and crops be able to grow and flourish. Help our partner organisation, FSA, to be able to reach even more people affected by the locusts so they can provide for their families. And grant wisdom to leaders in countries who are responding to both locusts and coronavirus, so they are able to find solutions and protect the most vulnerable.
In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
Photo credit: CSIRO/ Creative Commons (licence)