Local authorities bring locust plague under control in Mauritania, UN says

26 October 2009

Local emergency control operations in Mauritania have successfully contained a massive outbreak of desert locusts which were threatening to spread north to other countries in West Africa and devastating farmers’ livelihoods, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) reported today.

Local emergency control operations in Mauritania have successfully contained a massive outbreak of desert locusts which were threatening to spread north to other countries in West Africa and devastating farmers’ livelihoods, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) reported today.

FAO said that as long as the area avoids being hit by heavy rains the infestations should be eliminated by early December.

“The current situation appears to be under control,” said FAO locust expert Keith Cressman.

“FAO is monitoring the situation extremely closely and will continue to keep countries, the donor community and other stakeholders informed of any significant developments as they arise,” added Mr. Cressman.

Some 17 teams from the National Locust Centre in Mauritania are undertaking survey and control operations against breeding locusts in the west of the country where a serious outbreak developed earlier this month.

The new hatchlings are gathering together to form small but dense groups making good targets for the control teams, which have treated more than 2,100 hectares since operations began on 11 September.

FAO said that the current invasion of locusts is small than the outbreak in 2003, which led to a regional plague from 2004 to 2005, which ravaged vast quantities of crops and threatened widespread starvation.

“All countries within the region are much better prepared than in 2003 and have sufficient resources in place to bring the current situation under control,” said FAO, noting that the slim chance of unusually heavy rains falling within the next six weeks could put the area at risk again in December.

FAO is slated to hold an expert meeting in Mauritania next week to assess the situation and to develop short and mid-term action plans to prevent the situation reoccurring.

 

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