The first grasshoppers have flocked to South Sudan, threatening the food security of one of the “most vulnerable” countries in the world.

Desert locust outbreaks continue to spread in East Africa. Billions of destructive insects, including large swarms of Moscow, have devastated Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti, Eritrea, Tanzania, Sudan, Uganda and began to enter South Sudan, the government of this country. February 18 said.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), about the first 2,000 locusts crossed the border to South Sudan from Uganda on Monday. “The report shows that they are adults. Grasshoppers are like humans, they send a reconnaissance team to the front to explore whether the new land has enough food and is favorable for reproduction.” Agriculture Minister Onyoti Adigo Nyikiwec told AFP.

If left unchecked, locust could be a disaster for South Sudan, where natural disasters and prolonged conflict are causing six million people, or 60% of the population, to face severe famine. This is the first “grasshopper invasion” in the country in 70 years. FAO is guiding local people to use sprayers and chemicals to respond to the epidemic.

The proliferation of desert grasshoppers has been driven by one of the wettest wet seasons in East Africa over the past four decades. Weather patterns change rapidly and irregularly due to climate change leading to heavy rains and abnormal floods, making the outbreak much more serious than FAO predicted.

Desert grasshoppers destroy a grazing land in Samburu, Kenya on January 17. Photo: Reuters

Experts warn that the epidemic could peak from March to May, when the egg hatches create a second grasshopper, threatening many important agricultural areas in the region.

Desert grasshopper (Schistocerca gregaria) has been considered a destructive species of agricultural production for centuries. They are widely distributed throughout Africa, Asia and the Middle East. These insects can grow from 2 to 5 litters per year and often live in large flocks.