1. The Desert Locust (Schistocerca gregaria) is the most destructive migratory pest in the world.
2. During quiet periods (known as recessions) Desert Locusts are usually restricted to the semi-arid and arid deserts of Africa, the Near East and South-West Asia that receive less than 200 mm of rain annually. This is an area of about 16 million square kilometres, consisting of about 30 countries.
3. In response to environmental stimuli, dense and highly mobile Desert Locust swarms can form.
4. Starting in early 2020, the global Desert Locust situation deteriorated as favourable climatic conditions allowed widespread breeding of the pest in East Africa, Southwest Asia and the area around the Red Sea.
5. They are ravenous eaters who consume their own weight per day, targeting food crops and forage.
6. Just a single square kilometer of swarm can contain up to 80 million adults, with the capacity to consume the same amount of food in one day as 35,000 people.
7. Large swarms pose a major threat to food security and rural livelihoods.
8. FAO Director-General QU Dongyu said that the Desert Locust upsurge in the Horn of Africa threatened to provoke a humanitarian crisis and appealed for urgent funding to tackle the outbreak in order to protect livelihoods and food security.