A United Nations agency is warning that it has less than a third of the $75 million to $110 million it needs to combat locust swarms over much of West Africa.
The Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations says the international community has contributed only about $24 million to the cause, and crops in countries including Mauritania, Mali, Senegal, Chad and Niger are being ravaged as a result.
"The problem is that the international donor community is being pressed on all sides to help with different problems globally," he said. "It takes a while for the penny to drop in terms of realizing that the situation really is serious.
"Unfortunately, the locusts get on with their reproduction and each generation they go through makes the problem worse."
There's a danger that the swarms are heading in the direction of Sudan, where a humanitarian crisis is already looming because of a violent campaign the janjaweed militiamen are waging against black African Sudanese in the Darfur region.