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Locust Infestation Hits Northern Nigeria

Posted by Associated Press on 2004/08/22 | Views: 314 |

Locust Infestation Hits Northern Nigeria


KANO, Nigeria - One of the worst locust infestation to hit West Africa in 15 years has reached northern Nigeria, where authorities are battling the swarms with insecticide sprayed from crop-dusting airplanes, officials said Thursday.

KANO, Nigeria - One of the worst locust infestation to hit West Africa in 15 years has reached northern Nigeria, where authorities are battling the swarms with insecticide sprayed from crop-dusting airplanes, officials said Thursday.

The swarms moving in from North Africa have begun to invade the northwestern Nigerian states of Sokoto and Zamfara, threatening the livelihoods of subsistence farmers, officials told The Associated Press.

"We have started spraying insecticides to curb the menace. We leased an aircraft for this purpose," said Sokoto state spokesman Mustapha Shehu. "But I'm afraid unless we get help and cooperation from our neighbors in Kebbi, Zamfara and also Niger Republic it will be a difficult task."

In Zamfara, entire crops have been ruined and officials are trying to protect other land from destruction, said the spokesman for that state, Ibrahim Birnin Magagi.

The insects have already caused serious crop damage in Mauritania, Mali and Niger and Chad and are heading toward Sudan's warring Darfur region, where fighting has driven one million people from their homes, according to U.N. figures.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization has said the insects were settling at a rate of 200,000 locusts per acre.

Blankets of the insects have been covering houses, cars and roads throughout West Africa, where many people survive on food from small, hand-tilled plots.

The last comparable locust infestation, in 1987-89, cost more than a half-billion dollars to combat, U.N. officials say.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.