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People wade through a flooded street in Beledweyne, central Somalia. People wade through a flooded street in Beledweyne, central Somalia, May 17, 2020 (AP photo).

In East Africa, a Vexing Trifecta of Challenges: COVID-19, Locusts and Floods

, , Thursday, July 16, 2020

This time last year, countries in East Africa were leading the continent in economic growth. Now, much of that progress is at risk as the region faces a dangerous triple threat: torrential rain and flooding, voracious swarms of locusts and the coronavirus pandemic.

The three crises are compounding each other’s impacts. Border closures that were put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 have strained the supply of pesticides and other equipment to fight the locusts that have ravaged the region for months now. Food supplies that were already under siege from the pests have been further devastated by flooding that has forced over 1 million people to flee their homes. That population now faces the threat of contracting the coronavirus in the region’s crowded and often unsanitary camps for internally displaced people. ...

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