Desert locusts eat their way through the harvests of the people in East Africa. Up to 20 million people are currently threatened by hunger. In an audio interview, Keith Cressman explains how he is trying to help fight them with the help of geodata.
Keith Cressman, Senior Locust Forecastin Officer at FAO, with two colleagues during data collection in Kenya.
A plague of locusts threatens East Africa. Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya in particular could be threatened by famine, as the desert locusts are spreading dangerously and their voraciousness could eat up the livelihoods of around 20 million people this year alone. The FAO has been operating a monitoring and forecasting system (Desert Locus Information System DLIS) since the 1930s. Keith Cressman is Senior Locust Forecasting Officer at FAO headquarters in Rome and is responsible for locust forecasts in East Africa. His instruments consist of several information services: He merges field data from the affected countries with satellite data. The satellites provide him with three essential pieces of information to be able to predict the migration of swarms of locusts up to six weeks in advance: Information on the location and amount of precipitation in arid regions, the type and density of the emerging information, and data on soil moisture. From satellite data and on-site information, Cressman draws conclusions about the development and movements of locust swarms and sends this information as warnings to the affected countries. Operations to eliminate the swarms are then underway there.
Author: Monika Rech-Haider | Date: 27. April 2020
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