Coronavirus Worsens the East Africa’s Worst Plague of Locusts in 70 Years

Before the new coronavirus hit, local missionaries and the people they serve in the Horn of Africa were already suffering hunger from the worst plague of locusts in 70 years.

Food in short supply after swarms of locusts began devouring harvests toward the end of 2019 became even more scarce when coronavirus containment measures put the brakes on supply channels, the leader of a local ministry in Kenya said.

“The recent rise of coronavirus cases across my nation has heightened the emergency in the already locust-plagued rural areas where our ministry and outreaches are concentrated,” he said. “The effects of the lockdown and curfew have impacted livelihoods, food insecurity has threatened our ministry and our church plants, and the orphans’ and children’s programs have been affected so much by this crisis.”

Among the ministry’s church plants in 15 villages, 10 congregations and their pastors recently went without food for more than two weeks as the containment measures stopped movement of goods and supplies, he said. Laborers whose wages were too low to set aside any savings could not work just as the prices rose for any scant, available food.

A new, larger generation of billions of locusts emerging in East Africa this month is expected to devour mid-year harvests.

“The poor and elderly people in the villages are walking to some churches begging churches and pastors for basic foodstuffs for them, which the churches don’t have,” the ministry leader said, while thanking Christian Aid Mission donors for assistance that helped earlier in the year. “We are so grateful for your support for this April quarter that helped to address the emergency food, water and hygiene to the pastors and missionaries and members of our churches who had gone without food.”

The donations also enabled the ministry to provide seeds to four pastors for planting maize and beans, and workers were also able to deliver rice, beans, sugar, cooking oil and other food to more than 150 families, he said.

While locust swarms and coronavirus lockdowns have paralyzed supplies, conditions are even worse for villagers persecuted for their faith, he added.

“The poor and rural Christians in the villages are severely persecuted and often banished from the fields where they grow their food backside of curfews and lockdowns,” he said.

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SOURCE: Christian Aid Mission

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