Agricultural pilot Christophe Druart worked on the UN mission to combat locusts in Ethiopia. His story was highlighted this Friday in the French newspaper L’Union. Originally from the Ardennes region in northwest France (bordering Belgium and Luxembourg), Druart joined the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) team beginning of last year.

For about a year, the locusts have once again invaded the African horn region (which covers Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya), only this time, it is the worst plague in more than 25 years in the region, with an enormous risk of hunger. In response, the UN sent pilots to fight insect clouds still on the ground. In between, was Druart, who took many images showing the damage caused by insects, which destroy huge areas of plantations in just a few hours.

The video also shows photos of the clouds seen and fought in-flight and hitting the airplane’s windshield (impairing the pilots’ visibility). According to the Frenchman, combatting the insects is done with insecticides applied at the rate of 1 liter per hectare.

Even so, the greediness of insects for green leaves continues to transform the landscape, with vegetation practically devastated in several places. According to Druart, for frightened populations, airplanes are the only aid capable of tackling the problem.

REINFESTATION

According to the UN, actions in East Africa in 2020 prevented the loss of 2.7 million cereals earlier this year. Enough to feed 18 million people for one year on the continent.

However, new clouds began to form at the end of last year, after Cyclone Gati passed through Ethiopia and Somalia in November. The invasion is now taking place in northeastern Kenya and could spread again into the region.

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