The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a statement that it is unable to provide relief and locust eradication measures to Mali’s vast desert north “because of political conflict.”
Heavy rains and a subsequent explosion of vegetation this year have created ideal conditions for locusts to breed and spread across Mali and neighboring Niger.
But the radical Islamists in Mali have been imposing sharia law and looting U.N. trucks and equipment that had been dispatched to cope with the swarms.
UNFAO senior locust forecasting officer Keith Cressman told reporters that good breeding conditions this year meant a second generation of locusts could hatch by the end of the Sahara summer, posing a threat across a wide swath of the Sahel.
Photo: U.N. FAO