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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Locusts destorying farmland NW of Mogadishu

MOGADISHU -- Somalia, the scene of conflicts since 1991 and that regularly suffers floods and droughts, has now been hit by a new type of disaster as millions of crickets have invaded the south of the country.

The insects have destroyed farmland around six villages in the region of Gedo, according to the district commissioner in Luuq, about 400 kilometers (250 miles) northwest of Mogadishu, Ahmed Bule Mohamed, said by telephone.

"We don't know where the locusts came from but we have seen them destroying everything, and within 48 hours the locusts have eaten all green leaves in the villages of Durey, Maganey, Doryanley, Hanoy, Dowdhere, and Aro Aso," he said.

"I can estimate that the locusts have destroyed farmlands around 200 hectares [500 acres]." Local residents also expressed concerns over their crops. "We have seen millions of locusts destroying the trees and crops in the farmlands and we don't have anything to protect us from them," said one, Omar Hassan Malin of the village of Maganey. This is a tragedy.

"You would think that no green leaves have ever grown in those villages, Millions of locusts spread around the area and left the trees leafless."

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