The caterpillars have been clogging wells with excrement, eating vital crops — including banana, plantain, coffee and cocoa — and forcing people from their farms. "Definitely we have a crisis on our hands," said Winfred Hammond, a representative of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, who provided the estimates.
Liberia’s president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, declared a state of emergency in the afflicted region earlier this week. Two international pest-control experts — plant-protection experts from Ghana and Sierra Leone — have been dispatched to the worst-affected areas.
The outbreak in Liberia, which is recovering from years of civil war, has been blamed on the unusually long rainy season of 2008.
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