Unusual rains increase desert locust risk
Heavy rains have fallen in the winter breeding
areas of Northwest Africa and around the Red Sea that could
allow desert locusts to increase and eventually threaten the
fields of forthcoming spring crops in these areas, says FAO.
According to the Desert Locust Update issued by
the FAO Migratory Pests Group, low pressure over
northeastern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula in
mid-November brought unusually heavy rains to the northern
coastal plains along both sides of the Red Sea which lasted
for more than a week. Flooding was reported in many areas.
Strong southerly winds associated with this weather are
thought to have carried locusts northwards from the interior
of Yemen to the traditional winter breeding areas along the
Red Sea coasts of Eritrea, Sudan, Egypt, Yemen and Saudi
Arabia. There is a risk that locust infestations could
buildup during the next few months in these places.
In West Africa, young wingless locusts continued to form
hopper bands in northwestern Mauritania and northern Mali.
These will produce new swarms during the remainder of the
month. It is feared that some of these swarms could move
north into Morocco and Algeria where authorities are closely
monitoring the situation and preparing themselves for any
control operations to protect fertile areas such as the
Souss Valley which produce key cash crops.
28 November 1996
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