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South Sudan plagued by locusts as outbreak spreads in East Africa

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The worst locust outbreak seen in parts of East Africa in seven decades has reached South Sudan, the Associated Press reports. 

As many as 2,000 locusts have been spotted throughout the country, according to agricultural officials. 
The infestation has also reached Sudan, Eritrea, Tanzania and most recently Uganda. 

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization said the situation in Eastern Africa countries “remains extremely alarming.” 

South Sudan is even less prepared than other countries to handle this outbreak. A five-year civil war shattered the country’s economy, while insecurity following a 2018 peace deal threatens humanitarian aid distribution. Five million people are severely food insecure, with the U.N. humanitarian office saying about 860,000 children are malnourished. 

Locusts travel across the region in swarms the size of major cities with experts saying the only effective control is aerial spraying of pesticides. However, the UN and local authorities said they need more pesticides and aircraft.  The UN has said $76 million is needed immediately to fight the crisis. 

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. would donate another $8 million to the effort on top of its earlier $800,000.

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