Speed Reading — Locust Invasion - Level 6 — 200 wpm

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The livelihood of farmers and other food growers in East Africa is under attack from locusts. Authorities say swarms of millions of locusts are ravaging large swathes of farmland and vegetation. Millions of people are at risk after the insects destroyed crops in Eritrea, Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda. The swarms of locusts are spreading and could affect the agriculture, bushland and forests of neighbouring countries. The United Nations' Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) report that some swarms have been sighted as far afield as Yemen and Oman in the Gulf. It is the worst locust invasion in 70 years and some say it is reaching Biblical proportions.

The locust invasion is seriously affecting the lives of over 12 million people. Many of these were already experiencing food insecurity due to poor harvests from a lack of rain. The swarms of locusts will only worsen the plight of people living in the region. Locusts are extremely voracious pests. One locust can eat its entire body weight in just 24 hours. A small swarm could chomp its way through enough food to feed 35,000 people in just one day. Esther Kithuka, a farmer in Kenya, expressed her concern about the invasion. She said: "We depend a lot on this season and we worry that the locusts will destroy our harvest and we will end up remaining hungry through the rest of the year [until] next cropping season."

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