Photo: Xinhua/Zhang Yu via Getty Images

Billions of locusts have swarmed East Africa, consuming harvests and putting 20 million more people at risk of starvation, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: The swarms have hit more than 10 countries across 2 continents. If the locusts aren't soon combatted quickly and effectively, the number of people at risk of starvation in East Africa alone could rise to 33 million over the next few months. The swarms of locusts could grow exponentially and reach new countries, WSJ writes.

The big picture: Millions are already struggling with food shortages resulting from droughts, flooding, and insurgencies. The locusts could exacerbate the current situation.

The state of play:

  • Swarms the size of cities can consume 1.8 million metric tons of vegetation every day — enough to feed 81 million people.
  • Locusts have eaten 40% of the harvest in some parts of Pakistan, WSJ notes.
  • Locusts consumed corn, cotton, and wheat that were almost ready for harvest in Ethiopia, Africa's second most populated country, according to the WSJ.

Other countries plagued by locusts, per UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO):

  • Kenya
  • Somalia
  • Uganda
  • South Sudan
  • Tanzania
  • Democratic Republica of Congo
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Yemen
  • Kuwait
  • Bahrain
  • Qatar
  • Iran

How the world is reacting: The FAO has appealed for $138 million in urgent funding to assist afflicted countries but has only received $52 million so far, CNBC reports.

  • Much of the equipment used against the locusts is outdated and unable to handle the scale of the issue.

What to watch: Keith Cressman, the United Nation's senior locust forecasting expert, told the Journal, “We are expecting much greater impacts when the seasonal rains start and the next planting season begins in about a month.

Go deeper

Biden: The next president should decide on Ginsburg’s replacement

Joe Biden. Photo: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Joe Biden is calling for the winner of November's presidential election to select Ruth Bader Ginsburg's replacement on the Supreme Court.

What he's saying: "[L]et me be clear: The voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider," Biden said. "This was the position the Republican Senate took in 2016 when there were almost 10 months to go before the election. That's the position the United States Senate must take today, and the election's only 46 days off.

Trump, McConnell to move fast to replace Ginsburg

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump will move within days to nominate his third Supreme Court justice in just three-plus short years — and shape the court for literally decades to come, top Republican sources tell Axios.

Driving the news: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are ready to move to confirm Trump's nominee before Election Day, just 46 days away, setting up one of the most consequential periods of our lifetimes, the sources say.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 30,393,591 — Total deaths: 950,344— Total recoveries: 20,679,272Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 6,722,699 — Total deaths: 198,484 — Total recoveries: 2,556,465 — Total tests: 92,163,649Map.
  3. Politics: In reversal, CDC again recommends coronavirus testing for asymptomatic people.
  4. Health: Massive USPS face mask operation called off The risks of moving too fast on a vaccine.
  5. Business: Unemployment drop-off reverses course 1 million mortgage-holders fall through safety netHow the pandemic has deepened Boeing's 737 MAX crunch.
  6. Education: At least 42% of school employees are vulnerable.