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August 12, 2012

Threat: Locust Outbreak Could Impact 50 Million

Locust Breeding is now underway in the Sahel. Inaccessible areas due to geopolitical insecurity are highlighted in gray. [Image: FAO Locust Watch]

Aug 12 - (Relief Analysis Wire) - According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization's Locust Watch service, the agricultural production and livelihoods of 50 million people in Niger, Mali, and Chad are under threat. The locust outbreak is unfolding concurrently with a devastating food insecurity crisis across the Sahel. The current outbreak is the most severe since 2005, according to the FAO.

In May, rains came approximately six weeks early, according to FAO analysis. This will allow for  two generations of breeding to occur by October and a potential exponential increase in the locust population by as much as 250 times. 

An Executive Brief from the FAO indicates that $10 million USD appeal has been launched to address the Sahel locust crisis. $550,000 in funding from France has been received. $5,950,000 has been pledged from from other donors.

The Relief Analysis Wire has authored an article about the ecological and geopolitical background of the Sahel locust crisis in the August issue of's Monthly Developments magazine (now available in hard copy to subscribers). 

It should be noted that the Sahel locust crisis is not only occurring simultaneously with the over Sahel food insecurity situation, but food prices are also being driven high by the hottest U.S. summer on record. In addition, El Nino conditions are expected to take hold by the end of the year--a situation which often causes food prices to spike due to drought conditions in Asia and Australia. These global factors may also be pressuring the Sahel in the near future,

[Via: FAO Locust Watch, Monthly Developments Magazine]