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FAO Warns Of New Locust Invasion Threat In East Africa

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The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned of new swarms of locusts in southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya spreading further in the eastern Africa region.

Locust invasion poses a big threat to food security in eastern Africa as the UN agency warns a few swarms could spread further in Kenya and reach Tanzania, South Sudan and Uganda this month.

FAO in its latest update posted on Monday, said the immature swarms have been migrating from the previous locust breeding grounds in eastern Ethiopia and central Somalia and spreading into Ethiopia’s SNNP region and into Kenya’s northern and coastal counties.

The UN’s humanitarian agency says “so far, swarms are present in four (Kenyan) counties (Wajir, Garissa, Marsabit and, most recently, Isiolo). Breeding continues, and hopper bands are present in the southeast near Taita Taveta and along the coast.”

Last year, the region saw billions of the insects destroying crops across the region and now the agency says, there are reports of some immature swarms reaching Mwanga district in northeast Tanzania on 8 January.

The UN agency has urged countries affected to take the necessary efforts to survey, control reduce migration and breeding of the insects.

The FAO says is a moderate risk the swarms “could reach central Kenya and perhaps the southwest as well as northeast Tanzania, eastern Uganda, and southeast South Sudan during January”.

FAO says “once swarms arrive in favourable areas, they will mature and lay eggs that will hatch and cause hopper bands to form during February and March.”

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Emirates Airlines Temporarily Suspends Flights To South Africa

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Emirates Airlines says it will suspend all flights to and from south Africa from this weekend till January the 28th for operational reasons.

The Dubai-based airline says customers holding tickets with final destinations in South Africa during that period will not be accepted for travel at their point of origin. It did not elaborate further.

Emirates is popular to and from the country. South Africa has seen a surge in cases since a new variant was identified in the country in November.

Emirates is popular with travellers to and from South Africa, but there has been a sharp drop in travel because of the coronavirus outbreak.

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‘Unique’ COVID-19 Variant Detected In Kenya

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Kenya says it has detected a unique coronavirus variant in the south-east of the country, following a study by state-linked Kenya Medical Research Institute between June and October.

Scientists at the institute say more research needs to be done to assess the impact of the variant.

Kenya has so far confirmed nearly 100,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 1,700 deaths.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization says the faster-spreading South African variant has been detected in three African states – Botswana, Zambia and the Gambia in west Africa.

WHO says Africa has now surpassed three million COVID-19 cases, and daily case numbers were exceeding the first wave peak.

WHO an average of 25,223 cases were reported each day between 28 December 2020 and 10 January 2021 in Africa, which is nearly 39% higher than the July 2020 two-week peak of 18,104 daily average cases.

“Revamped public health measures are ever more critical to avert a runaway surge in infections that could stretch health facilities to the breaking point,” it added.

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Dozens Killed In Suspected Rebel Attack In Eastern DR Congo

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A senior provincial official in the Democratic Republic of Congo has on Thursday said at least 46 civilians are reported to have been killed in an attack by suspected rebel fighters on a village in the eastern part of the country.

Adjio Gidi, a provincial Interior Minister said as of this afternoon 46 persons are reported to have died and local security forces have been dispatched to the village in Irumu territory to investigate.

He added that the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) were behind the raid.

According to UN figures The Ugandan armed group is believed to have carried out a string of massacres in the eastern DRC, killing more than 1,000 civilians since the start of 2019.

Local army spokesman Jules Ngongo said after being alerted to the latest violence, troops went to the village and are in the process of recovering bodies. He did not say how many had been killed.

Some few days ago, unidentified attackers killed at least six rangers in an ambush in eastern DRC’s Virunga National Park, a sanctuary for endangered mountain gorillas.

DRC’s eastern borderlands with Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi are home to a constellation of more than 100 different rebel groups, many remnants of its brutal civil wars that officially ended in 2003.

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