World Tour – Locusts in Africa and a truce in Yemen


MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour with Africa reporter Onize Ohikere.

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Locust swarms—We start today here in Africa. 

AUDIO: [INSECTS BUZZING]

East Africa is already battling the worst locust outbreak it has seen in 70 years. Now, a second wave is expected to hit in the coming months. 

AUDIO: [STICKS BANGING]

Villagers in Uganda used sticks to bang on plastic containers, hoping to drive the pests away. But billions of locusts have already settled in the region. 

Heavy rains and favorable breeding conditions in May will likely trigger swarms up to 20 times the size of the current wave. That second round is expected to start during the harvest season in late June. 

The locusts pose a massive threat to food security and livelihoods. 

Chad vs Boko Haram—Next, we go to Chad.

AUDIO: [BEEPING, YELLING]

Soldiers returned home last week after a military offensive against Boko Haram in the western part of the country. Troops piled into trucks and tanks and drove past waving crowds. 

Officials said the army killed 1,000 jihadist fighters during an operation in the Lake Chad region. 

Since 2009, Boko Haram fighters have hit the area hard. At the end of March, militants waged a seven hour attack on a Chadian army base, killing 92 soldiers. In response, Chad launched a massive military operation, chasing the Boko Haram fighters over the border into Nigeria. 

Yemen ceasefire—Next, we go to the Middle East.

AUDIO: [MAN SPEAKING ARABIC]

Residents in Yemen praised a tentative truce in the region after the Saudi-led coalition announced a cease-fire in the ongoing conflict with Houthi rebels. The coalition said it wanted to prevent any cases of COVID-19 in the country and hopefully find a wider political solution to the ongoing conflict. 

But so far, the cease-fire is one-sided. Hours after the truce announcement, Houthi rebels launched missile attacks against two cities. The five-year conflict has led to the deaths of more than 100,000 people and triggered a humanitarian crisis. 

Germany addresses labor shortage—Next, we go to Europe.

AUDIO: [MACHINERY]

Two planes carrying Eastern European farmhands arrived in Germany last week. 

AUDIO: [OFFICIAL CALLING OUT NAMES]

Germany usually employs about 300,000 seasonal workers from other countries. But most foreign travelers aren’t allowed to enter the country because of the coronavirus. Now, the government hopes to address that labor shortage. 

Under the new program, workers will fly to Germany in controlled groups. They must wear protective gear and work apart from the farm hands already in Germany. The government plans to bring up to 40,000 workers into the country in April, and another 40,000 in May.

Astronauts join the ISS—And finally, we end today in … space!

AUDIO: [SOUND OF ROCKET, VOICES ON RADIO]

Three astronauts blasted off from Kazakhstan on Thursday and flew to the International Space Station.

AUDIO: Moscow, this is Irkut 1, the hatch is open, copy, excellent. Great news.  

The three had been in quarantine for the past month. As they floated into the space station one by one, they embraced the three astronauts already there. Those three will return to Earth later this week. The newest crew members will remain on board until October.

That’s this week’s World Tour. Reporting for WORLD, I’m Onize Ohikere in Abuja, Nigeria.


(Sven Torfinn/FAO via AP)  In this photo taken Tuesday, March 31, 2020, a swarm of desert locusts flies in Kipsing, near Oldonyiro, in Isiolo county, Kenya. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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