Apr 10, 2020 - World

New, larger wave of locusts threatens vulnerable populations in Africa

Locust nymphs aggregated on the ground at a hatch site near Isiolo town in Isiolo county, eastern Kenya. Photo: Tony Karumba/AFP via Getty Images

A second and stronger wave of locusts is expected to threaten parts of Africa in late June and July, just months after the start of the biggest outbreak some countries had seen in roughly 70 years, AP reports.

Why it matters: The crisis has been compounded by restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has hindered the movement of personnel and equipment, the U.N. says. The expected surge is estimated to be about 20 times the size of the first.

The plague, at least partially attributed to climate change, will present an "unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods for millions," the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization notes.

  • Six East African countries are anticipated to be most affected or at risk for the pests: Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania. Some 20 million people in those nations are already experiencing acute food insecurity.
  • Already, the swarms have been seen in Djibouti, Eritrea and Congo.
  • Yemen, which was also affected by the first swell of locusts, presently has 15 million people experiencing acute food insecurity.

The big picture: Billions of young desert locusts are emerging from breeding grounds in Somalia to find fresh vegetation that coincidences with seasonal rains, AP writes.

The U.N. raised its appeal for aid from $76 million to $153 million, saying the new outbreak "could lead to further suffering, displacement and potential tensions." So far, contributors have given or pledged $111.1 million.

  • It has treated more than 240,000 hectares across 10 countries with chemical pesticides or biopesticides, with 750 people on the ground trained to control the outbreak.

Go deeper

Updates: George Floyd protests continue past curfews

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Tuesday across the U.S. for the eighth consecutive day, prompting a federal response from the National Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

The latest: Even with 8pm curfews in New York City and Washington, D.C., protesters are still out en masse. Some protesters in D.C. said they were galvanized by President Trump's photo op in front of St. John's Church on Monday and threat to deploy U.S. troops in the rest of country if violence isn't quelled, NBC News reports.

Updated 14 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump backs off push to federalize forces against riots

Photo: Brendan Smialowski /AFP via Getty Images

A day after threatening to federalize forces to snuff out riots across the country, the president appears to be backing off the idea of invoking the Insurrection Act, sources familiar with his plans tell Axios.

What we're hearing: Aides say he hasn’t ruled out its use at some point, but that he's “pleased” with the way protests were handled last night (apart from in New York City, as he indicated on Twitter today) — and that for now he's satisfied with leaving the crackdown to states through local law enforcement and the National Guard.

What we expect from our bosses

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Workers — especially millennials and Gen Zers — are paying close attention to the words and actions of their employers during national crises, such as the protests following the killing of George Floyd in police custody.

Why it matters: American companies have an enormous amount of wealth and influence that they can put toward effecting change, and CEOs have the potential to fill the leadership vacuum left by government inaction. More and more rank-and-file employees expect their bosses to do something with that money and power.