Yemen’s Dangerous New Invader

04-12-2016LocustFAO
Photo Credit: FAO/G. Tortoli - Juvenile desert locust hoppers

Conflict and hunger are current pestilence in today’s Yemen. Now, the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) has discovered Desert Locust infestations likely
resulting from heavy rains last November associated with tropical cyclones. This will threaten the region’s crops, livestock, and could spread to Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iran, Western Sahara, Morocco, Mauritania, Morocco, and Algeria unless constructive measures are taken to prevent the locusts from reaching breeding areas in their countries.

UN News Feed

“Desert Locust hoppers can form vast ground-based bands. These can eventually turn into adult locust swarms, which, numbering in the tens of millions can fly up to 150 km a day with the wind.
Female locusts can lay 300 eggs within their lifetime while an adult insect can consume roughly its own weight in fresh food per day – about two grams every day.  A very small swarm eats the same amount of food in one day as about 35,000 people and the devastating impact locusts can have on crops poses a major threat to food security, especially in already vulnerable areas.”

Locust monitoring, early warning and preventive control measures are believed to have played an important role in the decline in the frequency and duration of plagues since the 1960s; however, today climate change is leading to more frequent, unpredictable and extreme weather.”

 

For more information on FAO’s Desert Locust Information Service and how it uses  its data for alerts and warnings to combat this scourge, see: “Desert Locust Outbreak in Yemen Leaves Surrounding Countries Potentially at Risk.”

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