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Famine in Yemen forces children to catch locusts and eat

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DW-Yemen is a country with the worst humanitarian crisis in the world

Save the Children UK announced that about 100 thousand children in Yemen under the age of five have died from severe hunger since the outbreak of war on Yemen ..!

 “Millions of children do not know when their next meal will come or whether it will come,” Helly Thorning Schmidt, executive director of Save the Children, a non-governmental organization said that .

“This war threatens to kill an entire generation of Yemeni children who face multiple threats from bombs to hunger to preventable diseases such as cholera,” she warned.

Three out of four of Yemen’s 27 million people are in need of food aid, while some 8 million are facing famine, while a new wave of cholera threatens a country that lacks an effective health sector because of the war, the United Nations reported .

Yemen’s “devastating famine” Since the beginning of the war, the coalition has used its control over Yemen’s airspace and sea and land borders to impose a total siege on the country. The alliance says the aim is to prevent the Huthis and their allies from smuggling weapons supplied by Iran, but the blockade is used to prevent all international media, human rights organizations and researchers from entering the country and to inform the world of the reality of what is happening on the ground.

More than 20 million Yemenis depend on aid to survive, but the blockade imposed by the coalition has cut off food imports and subsidies on which the population depends, while trade has now resumed, it has full control over all imports and exports from Yemen.

 The silent killer of this ongoing conflict.

The blockade imposed by the coalition and the massive bombing of infrastructure, which impeded the arrival of civilians to a large extent of help.

Hodeidah was until recently the main entrance to seventy percent of Yemen’s food imports. Now, it is not only suffering from the blockade, but it has been badly damaged and its airspace has been damaged by the coalition air strikes.

Now the situation in Yemen “If you do not die by air strikes you will die because of disease, extreme hunger and the worst ways of death caused by famine.”

Hunger makes Yemen’s children hunt locusts to eat! 

Millions of locusts covered the sky of Sanaa on Eid and children considered the holiday a joy to get money from parents and relatives to buy desserts, but because of the war there are no sources of daily income for people also the cuts of salary, so children did not get money to buy sweets, Locusts are the only option for hunting and eating for many children.

hunting locusts is consider fungal and the person who collects the largest amount of locusts is considered a hero! The children said so.

Kids are very happy to see locusts. Young people collect locusts in plastic bottles and then go back to the houses to lure the locusts with oil and food, while others sell locusts on the streets.

” eating Locusts is usually an old habit for the majority of Yemenis, because of its many benefits as many consider it as a medicine, as well as its tasty taste,” he said, denying rumors about locust damage, that “I eat locusts since childhood like others and nothing happened to me.”

People come out to hunt locusts as soon as they arrive, and pack them in plastic cans or large plastic bags, to be fried with oil and eat or sell it on the market.

Over the last few days, desert locust swarms have swept through Hamdan and Arhab areas in Sana’a, causing severe damage (Qat) farmers. However, these swarms were a food opportunity for many of the residents of these areas.

 Ali Ahmed, resident of the Directorate of Hamdan, “A large swarms of locusts sweeping since last Friday, the citizens farms in the area of ​Bait Alldodah of Aljahiliah village and other areas in the Directorate of Hamdan caused great damage, especially for (Qat) farmers.”

Locusts threaten agricultural crops in the region, we can not afford new losses, especially with the high cost of agriculture due to the continued rise in prices of fuel and fertilizers. “

Ali pointed out that the prices of vegetables “will rise if the locusts swept farms, also that will add to the suffering of people from the deterioration of living because of the war.”

The desert locusts

control center in Sanaa, controlled by the group Ansar Allah (Houthis) has announced on last Saturday, the arrival of swarms of desert locusts to a number of districts of the provinces of Amran and Sanaa, coming from summer breeding areas.

He asserts that the appropriate environmental conditions in the summer breeding areas of locusts located in the governorates of Marib, Al-Jawf, Shabwa, Hadramout valley, also the desert helped to form these swarms and move them from one region to another.

Locusts destroy more than 70 percent of the trees and vegetables in the suburbs of Sanaa, the capital, butthe question is that are there damages of locust!

Yes, “there are damages caused by swarms of locusts, but we can not calculate its size, because field assessment has not yet been carried out,” according to the director of the National Center for Monitoring and Control Desert Locusts in Sana’a, he said that the Yemenis had “hunted and eaten locusts as a biological control to reduce the huge size of these Locusts.”

Locusts are a favorite food of some people in Asia and the Arab countries, especially the Republic of Yemen and some areas of Saudi Arabia. Locusts are very rich in protein by 62%, fats by 17% and organic substances by 21%, including manganese, calcium, iron , Sodium, potassium, phosphorus and others.

There are many medical benefits to locusts, as it treats many mysterious environmental diseases and activates the body because locusts feed on most trees, wild plants, aromatic and medicinal plants, which have great health benefits.

Among the benefits of eating locusts (are that it considered one of the most potent and effective stimulants, treating rheumatism and back pain, helps to treat delayed growth in children).

 Locusts are described as the most effective tonic, according to herbalists, and some see it as a treatment for “rheumatism”, back pain, delayed growth of children, and as it is important to keep locusts dried to be eaten after more than a year after hunting.

Doctors have warned eating Locusts, because, theyare likely to be exposed to spraying with pesticides or other drugs and serious complications. They can never be exposed to even a very small amount of pesticide, whether on the leaves of trees treated or sprayed directly with pesticides. So this is what would cause the body to get poison from eating it. 

Locusts are a type of grasshopper that follows the flora. There are more than 20,000 of locusts in the world. Locusts have strong backpacks that help them jump long distances and can jump 20 times the length of their bodies.

At the same time, a UN report warned that millions of locusts could attack Yemen, threaten to destroy crops and throw the country into famine amid the country’s war that has prevented the fight against locust infestation.

The report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says that the Desert Locust Control Center in Yemen has expressed concern that large numbers of these insects have reached puberty in the growth that allows them to fly, and the rest that are still young can reach this within weeks.

 According to the UN report, one of these swarms of about 80 million gardes may form along the southern coast. Two more locusts are starting to lay eggs, raising fears of new flocks coming next month.

 They eat the equivalent of food of 35,000 people a day and can fly 90 miles a day.

Yemen is on the verge of famine after 14 months of fighting that left nearly half of the 26 million people in dire need of food aid, the report says.

In response to these warnings, Yemenis are known ofeating locusts. Such attacks constitute a popular season for locusts-hunting enthusiasts, selling large quantities of roasted locusts at good prices.

The price of one kilogram of locusts this year in the province of Dhamar – south of the capital Sana’a – to two thousand Yemeni riyals, equivalent to 10 US dollars.

According to some hunters , the best time to collect locusts is after dawn, where it is easy to catch,sell it in the popular markets after preparing to eat roasting oven and left to sun exposure to dry, as that is one of the favorite meals for many Yemenis.

Sulatan AlSamie said to Daily Worker, 

“I do not have money to feed my children and the locust is a source of income for me”. at early morning my children and I go out to catch locusts. We take half of them to be eaten at home, while the other half, we take to be sold at old Sana’a .”

SANA’A hospitals received dozens of cases of poisoning from locusts.

A medical source revealed that Sana’a hospitals received dozens of cases of poisoning by eating locusts.

Locust swarms arrived in Sana’a during the Eid, and citizens hunted and ate them without cooking or frying.

The source pointed out that the locusts coming from next to Yemen carries toxins, where it has been exposed to many pesticides and poisons in other countries, and when it reaches the areas of Yemen, they have a large amount of toxins, and makes it dangerous to health.

The Yemeni regions have been able to eat fresh and fried locusts, but the medical source confirmed that the locusts in the distant past were free of toxins, but now there are global monitoring of their breeding and poisoning of their danger to agricultural crops.

“The extent of the current desert locust population in Yemen is not known because of the prevailing insecurity in the country, which makes it difficult for the survey teams to enter most areas, but with the drought of vegetation on the ground,” said Keith Krishman, chief locust forecasting officer at FAO. The coastline is more likely to form more small swarms and locust groups. “

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