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Horn of Africa desert locust outbreak threatens crops, UN Says

A desert locust outbreak that may threaten crops is developing in the Horn of Africa, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization said.

After good rains, the region should expect “another generation of breeding that would cause a substantial and dramatic increase in locusts,” the FAO said in a statement on its website. The insects are multiplying in Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti, Kenya, Eritrea, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.

“All efforts are required by national authorities to undertake regular surveys, timely reporting and efficient control, and to upscale these activities in the coming weeks and months,” it said. Ground and aerial control operations in Sudan treated more than 12,000 hectares (29,650 acres) during the first half of December. Hatching is expected to occur in the coming weeks along the western side of the Red Sea from Eritrea to southeast Egypt, FAO said.

Locusts can cover as much as 150 kilometers (93 miles) a day and an average swarm will destroy enough crops that could feed 2,500 people for a year, according to the FAO.

“Improving access to power is vital to delivering economic growth,” Filatex Chief Executive Officer Hasnaine Yavarhoussen said.

DERA, or Developpment Energie Renouvelable Afrique, is also developing 130 megawatts of solar power in Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It has an 8 megawatt hydro-power facility in Albania and is evaluating sites for further hydro-power projects in Togo and Guinea.

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