This month, communities across East Africa, which are already unsteady from the impact of COVID-19, are now also forced to fight against new swarms of locusts. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) states that the locust outbreaks in Ethiopia and Somalia are the worst in 25 years and in Kenya the worst in 75 years. The FAO expects that swarms will rise in June and July at the time of harvest and could cause ‘biblical’ famines. David Beasley, head of the World Food Programme (WFP) said that urgent action is needed to avoid a catastrophe. The President of the African Development Bank believes that an unprecedented race against time has begun to urgently halt the progression and potentially destructive impact of COVID-19 and the locust swarms in Africa. The European Commission and the FAO have gathered funds to help in the fight against the growing locust swarms but challenges remain due to COVID-19.
As many European countries continue to struggle with the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, the Council of Europe and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) encourage member states to benefit from the support refugee and migrant health professionals can provide to national health systems at this critical juncture. In addition, the lack of agricultural workforce due to the closure of borders to seasonal workers remains a potential threat to the entire European food supply chain, according to the European Commission. As a solution, countries like Germany, Italy, UK, Belgium and Ireland are exploring the opportunities for granted working permits. This article gives a brief look into the different solutions and remaining challenges.
This week’s news highlights: Unaccompanied Eritrean refugee children at risk; Sex workers in Kenyan slums face difficulties due to COVID-19; Concern about conditions in Eritrea’s prisons; Plan to close Hitsats camp despite COVID-19 concerns; New locust swarms threaten East Africa harvests; African refugee camps at risk of COVID-19; Increasing needs for forcibly displaced children; Number of people facing food crisis will double, warns WFP; Half of German refugee camp tested positive for COVID-19; MSF ends partnership with SOS Mediterranee; Alan Kurdi odyssey ends; European rescue solidarity plan requested by 4 member states; Refugees tested positive for COVID-19 in Portugal and Greece; Survey impact COVID-19 pandemic on migrants and refugees; Concerns about missing migrants and refugees in Libya; And Stranded Tunisian migrants return home