Plague of locusts swarm Madagascar

8:42 AM, Apr 16, 2013   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +



(CBS NEWS) -- A locust invasion is threatening Madagascar's 22 million people.  Most inhabitants already live below the poverty line, and now the locusts are devouring large amounts of rice and corn, main staples in the East African island nation.

"If we don't react as planned -- and by June, actually -- there will be a famine," says Alexandre Huynh, who is with the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization stationed in Madagascar. "All those people -- two thirds of the population -- will have big problems accessing food."

A tropical cyclone had crippled Madagascar's food supply in February. Fourteen-thousand acres of crops were flooded. To make matters worse, all that water created a perfect breeding environment for the swarming insects.

"We're really dealing with locusts that are growing, that are breeding, that are spreading, and that are flying over long distances," explains Princeton University's Iain Couzin, an expert on locust behavior.

So what needs to be done?

"There needs to be a multi-prong approach," says Couzin, "involving surveillance, and also application of insecticide."

All that takes money; the United Nations needs $41 million.

"If we cannot act immediately -- like within the next few months -- it's going to be incredibly expensive in terms of this massive famine," Couzin warns.

The locusts do more and more damage every day. In Madagascar, the hope now is to prevent the infestation that could tip millions from just barely getting by to starving.

You may also like...

Attractive Convict: Woman behind mug shot meme sets the record straight

Dihydrogen Monoxide: April Fools hoax gets radio DJs suspended

Sinkhole Tragedy: Man sleeping in bed swallowed by sinkhole

That's NUTS! Squirrel causes massive outage at Tampa water plant

Out of this world mystery: "Pond circles" form over frozen pond

Faces of Meth: Before and After pictures

Sex tape scandal: Miss Delaware Teen USA resigns

Prostitute Roundup: 78 arrested in online sex sting

Upload error: Lawmakers consider restrictions on posting naked pics online

Neigh! Video shows man brutalizing, having sex with horse

Shake it: Harlem shake - 10 News style...

Sex blog: Tampa area school CFO busted over her dirty sex porn blog *warning, GRAPHIC*

BUSTED: Woman apologizes for flipping off judge *warning, GRAPHIC*

Nasty Nasty Dining: 10 of the nastiest restaurants in Tampa Bay in 2012

Cover Girl: Kate Upton back on the cover of Sports Illustrated

APP-tastic: Download the 10 News app for your iPad

Yowtch! Teen accidentally shoots off his penis, testicle

Bikini Photos: 2012 Hooters International Swimsuit Pageant

Money Mondays: How you can search for unclaimed cash

Sex Offender Mugshots: Look up Florida Sex Offenders here

Bikinis, mud, trucks: The Redneck Yacht Club

Naughty Schoolgirls: Naughty schoolgirl night at Tampa club pictures

Outrageous mug shot galleries...

Strange: Some of the most unusual mug shots we've seen

Notorious Women: Bad girls behind bars

Teachers: Teacher arrest mugshots

Celebrities: The rich and famous have their own booking photos

Jaw droppers: Open mouth mug shots

Laughers: What's so funny mug shots

Prostitutes: Prostitute mug shots

Athletes: Professional athlete mug shots

Porn arrests: Child porn arrest mug shots

Local Mugs: Hillsborough County Mug shots

More unusual mug shots and galleries: 10 News slideshows and galleries

Most Watched Videos