Over 1 million people exposed to hunger in Mali after last year's locust invasion

More than 1 million people could go hungry in this West African nation after a severe locust invasion last year devastated crops, officials warned Monday.

In all, 10 percent of the country's 11 million inhabitants are at risk as the country struggles to make up for a cereal deficit of 350,000 tons, Lansisy Nana Haidara, head of Mali's food security agency said.

So far, the government has 35,000 tons of cereal in stock and 13,500 tons have been distributed in the worst-hit northern part of the country.

"The locust invasion destroyed almost all the crops," Haidara said, adding although international donors are contributing to government efforts to alleviate the food crisis, more is needed.

International donors, including the United States, France and Japan, have provided $10.4 million (Ђ8.3 million), Lansisy said, but "it is not nearly enough."

Last year, huge crop-munching locust swarms ravaged swaths of western Africa, forcing farmers to abandon their fields.

Associated Press

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