Tuesday, June 08, 2004

locusts threaten N. Africa

An intense campaign of spraying to the south of the Atlas mountains is attacking the swarms that are starting to appear after two exceptionally wet years provided perfect breeding conditions.

The potential is for a plague of proportions not seen for nearly 20 years.

"Locusts are breeding in thousands of spots over large areas south of the Atlas mountains stretching from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia to western Libya," the senior officer of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's locust group, Clive Elliot, warned.

[...] Winds were expected to carry swarms this month into Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal.

But some experts have warned that if the winds blow north instead, some locusts could reach southern Europe.

[...] The last desert locust plague in the late 80s took several years' work and more than $300m to control, according to FAO. (full-text)
And you can visit this page for regular updates on the locust situation.