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Published:March 24th, 2007 06:56 EST
Locust Infestations in Horn of Africia Prompt New Alert

Locust Infestations in Horn of Africia Prompt New Alert

By SOP newswire

Eritrea, Sudan and northern Somalia are strongly advised to carefully monitor “a developing and potentially dangerous situationâ€" arising from second-generation locust infestations that are now developing, according to the latest United Nations update on of the crop-devouring insects.

“There have been several new developments in the past few days in three key areas,â€" UN Food and Agriculture Organization (<"http://www.fao.org/">FAO) said, noting that the second-generation infestations from an outbreak in Eritrea in December are now concentrating in a 60 kilometres by 60 kilometres area on the Red Sea coast straddling the Sudanese-Eritrean border.

Late instar hopper bands and newly fledged adults are present in pearl millet crops in wadis and in natural vegetation on the coastal plains. Within a week, the majority of these populations will become adults and form small immature swarms. As vegetation is drying out on the coast, the swarms are likely to move further north along the coast in Sudan as well as west into the Eritrean highlands, the FAO warned.

Ground control operations are in progress in both countries and will be supplemented by aerial operations, expected to start this week, to try to reduce the scale of the expected migration.

As a result of good rainfall and breeding during the past few months, small hopper bands are also present in the Silil area on the northwest coast of Somalia near Djibouti. A few small immature swarms have already formed and more are expected in the coming weeks.

These swarms could move in any direction – up the escarpment towards the Ethiopian border, northwest towards the Eritrean highlands, east along the coast, across the Gulf of Aden to southern Yemen, or simply stay on the coast and eventually breed once the long rains commence, the FAO added.

SOURCE:  UN