Swarms form in Yemen and may threaten Indo-Pakistan
As expected, numerous groups and swarms of Desert Locust adults started to form in several places in the interior of Yemen during the past week. Swarms are continuing to form, mainly in the summer breeding areas of Hadhramaut, Shabwah, Marib and Al Jawf governorates from breeding that occurred in April and May. Some of the swarms have attacked crops. New infestations of fifth instar hopper bands were recently discovered about 50 km southeast of Sana'a in Khawlan district.
FAO is providing assistance to Yemen but survey and control operations remain severely hampered by insecurity and beekeeping. Some of the infestations are present in very remote places that are difficult to access.
Although it has not rained in the interior since April, rains may fall in early July. If so, vegetation will stay green and the swarms should remain and mature in the interior between Marib and Thamud where they will lay eggs in about mid-July. On the other hand, if rains do not occur, ecological conditions will dry out and the swarms are more likely to move south to the Gulf of Aden where strong south-westerly monsoon winds would carry them through coastal areas of Oman and across the Arabian Sea to the Indo-Pakistan summer breeding area. Their arrival would nearly coincide with that of the monsoon rains in Rajasthan and adjacent areas of Pakistan. Swarm movement from the Yemen interior to Saudi Arabia is not very likely.
All efforts are required to increase survey and control operations in Yemen wherever possible and to remain vigilant in other countries. FAO will continue to monitor the developing situation closely and provide timely early warning.