The United Nations is warning that Egypt and Saudi Arabia could soon be in the midst of a plague of locusts as an outbreak in Sudan and Eritrea is rapidly spreading along both sides of the Red Sea.
Heavy rains in the region sparked a breeding frenzy and have unleashed two generations of the swarming insects since October, according to a dire warning from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
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The FAO’s chief locust expert, Keith Cressman, said the next three months will be critical in bringing the situation under control before the insects begin breeding again in summer.
Locust swarms contain up to 80 million insects per square mile and they can extend for hundreds of square miles. Each locust can eat its own weight in food everyday, so they can pose an apocalyptic threat to food supplies.
“A very small swarm eats the same amount of food in one day as about 35,000 people, and the devastating impact locusts can have on crops poses a major threat to food security, especially in already vulnerable areas,” the FAO warned.
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