Asha Khalif Ali, 35, an internally displaced Ethiopian, carries her son in her wheat field that was damaged by heavy rains and desert locusts [File: Giulia Paravicini/Reuters]

Some one million people in Ethiopia require emergency food aid after swarms of desert locusts damaged 200,000 hectares (half a million acres) of cropland in a region already struggling with food security, the United Nations has said.

The announcement on Monday from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which recently concluded a joint assessment with the Ethiopian government, came as parts of East Africa are bracing for new swarms that could be even more devastating.


Billions of desert locusts, some in swarms the size of Moscow, have already chomped their way through much of the

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