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heavy rains and I was looking forward to a bumper 〓harvest but then the locusts came and ate away my hop〓e," Beatrice Ngari, a farmer in Embu, central Kenya, 〓told Xinhua. But Ngari was unaware that it is also th〓e predicament of many farmers across Kenya, Somalia, 〓Ethiopia, Tanzania, South Sudan and Uganda. The rains〓 between October and January served to provide a favo〓rable environment for locusts to breed and thrive, in〓cluding properly moist soils for them to lay eggs in 〓millions before migration and the consequent lush veg〓etation to eat, according to the FAO. Climate change 〓was to blame for the unusually plentiful rainfall on 〓the African continent. Keith Cressman, the FAO's seni〓or locust forecasting officer, further identified the〓 recent cyclones as another factor behind the locust 〓crisis, saying the past 10 years saw increased freque〓ncy of cyclones in the Indian Ocean. A swarm of dese〓rt locusts invade parts of Mwingi Town in Kitui Count〓y, Kenya, Feb. 20, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Yu) AGGRAVATIN〓G FOOD INSECURITY FAO officials said the locust outbr〓eak has worsened the food insecurity in Africa, citin〓g some 239 million people in sub-Saharan Africa suffe〓ring from hunger and malnutrition, and over 20 millio〓n having already been in food crisis in Horn of Afric〓a countries. UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitari〓an Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Low〓cock, said the current situation "is really, really c〓hallenging." "There are currently over 30 million peo〓ple in the affected countries, who are severely food 〓insecure now. Ten million of those people are in the 〓places affected by the locusts. Unless we get a grip 〓of this in the next two or three or four weeks, we wo〓uld have a serious problem," he stressed. To avoid a 〓famine, University of Nairobi professor Evaristus Ira〓ndu said the government may have to use the scarce fo〓reign currency to import food products, adding that p〓overty will increase in the country. "All our investm〓ent is going down the drain. The sorghum and millet c〓rops were about to mature and we would have harvested〓 next month," said Nathan Njiru, a farmer in T1