Billions Of Locusts Invade Madagascar Capital

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Billions of locusts swarmed Madagascar’s
capital Antananarivo on Thursday, prompting
residents and tourists to share photographs of
the sudden insect invasion on Twitter, while
experts worried about the effect on the country’s
food supply.
In the past five years, swarms of giant locusts
have regularly swept in over the island nation off
Africa’s southeastern coast, devastating crops
and other food supplies within just a few hours.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation ( FAO) of
the United Nations estimates that the ongoing
locust plague in Madagascar threatens the
livelihoods of some 13 million people, of which
nine million earn their living from agriculture.
Last year, the UN agency launched a three-year
emergency program to try and control the locust
infestations through aerial campaigns to protect
crops. Out of the $44 million (€33 million) in
donations the FAO has called for to fund the
program, it has so far only received $28.2 million,
meaning the funding gap exceeds the $15 million
needed to implement two more campaigns in
2014/15 and in 2015/16.
Since the spraying operations started in
November 2013, locust populations on 1.2 million
hectares of land have been controlled.
In an interview with BBC Focus on Africa last
year, FAO locust control expert Annie Monard
said: “The last one (plague) was in the 1950’s
and it had a duration of 17 years so if nothing is
done it can last for five to 10 years, depending on
the conditions.”

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