Africa locust plague raises famine fear

Swarms of locusts have descended on Cameroon's arid Far North province, exacerbating fears of food shortages in a region where low rainfall has already hit crop yields, officials said.

    The swarms have raised fears of food shortages

    "Migratory locusts have invaded all the six divisions of the Far North," a statement from Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Clobert Tchatat said. He gave no further details.

    Radio reports from the region, which is squeezed between Nigeria to the west and Chad to the east, said locusts darkened the skies and ate any green leaves they could find.

    Last year, locusts munched their way across swathes of West Africa in the worst infestation in 15 years. The invasion raised fears of famine in a region where many are subsistence farmers.

    Arid, semi-desert Niger and Mauritania were among the hardest hit. On Thursday, the United Nations said drought and the locust infestation had left 3.6 million people in critical need of food aid in Niger.

    Battling the swarm

    Cameroon, which stretches from mangrove swamps on the Atlantic Coast to the more arid north by Lake Chad, was not affected by last year's plague.

    Last year's swarm reached Egypt
    Israel and Libya

    Tchatat said a light aircraft from the Aerial Pest Control Unit was in the Far North to find out where the locusts came from and where they were reproducing. Some 7000 litres of pesticides are available in the region to combat the insects.

    Tchatat said in March the Far North faced food shortages because of low rainfall coupled with the advancing desert and the destruction of crops by migratory birds and elephants.

    Some 2000 tonnes of cereals have been provided for the local populations.

    Millions of hectares of land in West Africa have been sprayed with pesticides to prevent another locust attack. On Tuesday, UN officials said West Africa had cut the risk of another plague but warned there was no room for complacency.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Why some African Americans are moving to Africa

    Escaping systemic racism: Why I quit New York for Accra

    African-Americans are returning to the lands of their ancestors as life becomes precarious and dangerous in the USA.

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    No country in the world recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

    North Korea's nuclear weapons: Here is what we know

    North Korea's nuclear weapons