19:41 GMT17 February 2020
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    UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock has released $10 million to tackle the outbreak of desert locust in eastern Africa, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

    “UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock has released US$10 million from the UN's Central Emergency Response Fund to help scale up the response to the devastating desert locust outbreak in East Africa”, the OCHA said in a statement on late Wednesday.

    According to the UN official, the locust outbreak may further aggravate food shortages in the affected territories.

    “This devastating locust outbreak is starting to destroy vegetation across East Africa with alarming speed and ferocity. Vulnerable families that were already dealing with food shortages now face the prospect of watching as their crops are destroyed before their eyes”, Lowcock said, as quoted by the statement.

    He expressed the need to stop the outbreak, preventing it from spreading to more African countries.

    “We must act now. If left unchecked, this outbreak has the potential to spill over into more countries in East Africa with horrendous consequences. A swift and determined response to contain it is essential. This allocation from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund will fund a massive scale-up in aerial operations to manage the outbreak”, Lowcock added.

    The current desert locust outbreak has hit southwestern Asia, the Red Sea and the Horn of Africa. According to the United Nations, this is the worst locust outbreak in Ethiopia and Somalia in 25 years, and the worst one in Kenya in 70 years.

    United Nations, locust, Horn of Africa
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