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Locust swarms trigger state of emergency in Bolivia

Bolivia has declared a state of emergency in response to a locust plague that is destroying crops. There is concern the locusts could destroy more agricultural land.

Swarms of locusts have destroyed 2,700 acres (1,100 hectares) of corn, sorghum, beans and pastures in the department of Santa Cruz, raising concern the insects will eat through more agricultural lands.

The infestation started two weeks ago about 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Santa Cruz, Bolivia's largest city.  After razing vital agricultural lands, the locusts are now 18 miles (30 kilometers) from Santa Cruz city.

President Evo Morales announced a state of emergency on Wednesday, releasing funds worth the equivalent more than 700,000 euros to fight the plague with fumigation.

Authorities are concerned the locust plague could spread to other agricultural lands in the poor Latin American country, where small-scale and commercial farming plays a large role in the economy.

cw/msh (AP, dpa)

 

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