The Heat Is Online

Peruvian Army Uses Flame Throwers Against Locusts

Peru's military declares war on locusts

Reuters News Service, June 21, 2000

LIMA - Peru's military is sending helicopters with fumigation equipment and soldiers armed with flame throwers against swarms of locusts that have ravaged some 17,200 acres (7,000 hectares) of crops.

The estimated 150 million locusts posed a threat to this Andean nation where agriculture provides a livelihood for millions of peasants, government officials said on Tuesday.

The locusts have eaten maize, barley, rice and beans that are grown largely for home consumption or sold in local markets around the northern regions of Cajamarca and Lambayeque.

Authorities said locust numbers jumped after vegetation sprouted up in northern Peru following freak El Nino weather in 1998 that warmed Peruvian sea waters and caused heavy rains along the coast.

While locusts have always existed in Peru, this is the first time since 1982 that there has been a plague of the insects. The government said it had no estimates for the cost of the damage caused by the swarms.