- The arrival of the locusts could be catastrophic in South Sudan, where war followed by drought and floods has already left six million people facing severe hunger.
Desert locusts, which have already destroyed crops in four other Horn of Africa countries, have invaded South Sudan.
South Sudan’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security Onyoti Adigo confirmed on Tuesday evening that the locusts had entered the country, about ten days after the swarm hit Uganda.
Mr Adigo said the swarm entered South Sudan through Magwi in Eastern Equatoria State which borders Uganda.
“We received a report on Monday that the desert locusts have entered South Sudan through Magwi County.
"At first, we thought that it was the normal green grasshopper like it has been reported earlier but the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) team that was sent there confirmed to us the presence of the locusts,” he said.
The insects, the minster said, have already hit Lobone, Owiny-Kibul and Panyikwara areas.
Meshack Malo the country's representative of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation said the agency has put together 1,000 back sprayers to counter the invasion.
Mr Malo said his team will move into the affected areas on Thursday.
“If we are not able to deal with them at that pupa stage, they will multiply and it would be a big problem,” the FAO official said.
The insects have now attacked South Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya and Somalia denting food security prospects for the year ahead as these countries have also faced erratic rains, droughts and floods over the last 12 months.
On 28 January 2020, the FAO appealed to the international community for $76 million to help stem the outbreak, mitigate the damage caused by this pest and support the families affected.