Saturday, July 14, 2012

France sends emergency anti-locust aid

Seed Daily via UPI: France said this week it is mobilizing emergency efforts to stop locust swarms in Africa's Sahel from spreading farther into drought-stricken Niger and Mali. The French Foreign Ministry said Tuesday it had released $1 million in emergency funding targeted to Niger -- the country currently most affected -- through a contribution to National Center for Locust Control in Mauritania.

Part of the funding will also go to help in a regional response to the locust swarms though an emergency fund set up by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. The latter effort will be aimed at surveying and controlling locust in Mali, where militant Islamists and Tuareg rebels have used the chaos created by the March overthrow of President Amadou Toumani Toure to seize control of the northern part of the country.

"Groups of desert locusts have been identified in recent weeks in the northern part of the Sahelian strip by the surveillance system set up by the countries of the region," the French ministry said in a statement. "These groups were notably found in northern Niger and Mali where insecurity could hamper the necessary survey and control operations."

The spread of this locust invasion to the southern part of the Sahel region, Paris said, "would have disastrous consequences, resulting in the loss of crops and the prospect of a worsening food crisis."...

A desert locust in Niger, shot by Christiaan Kooyman, public domain

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