Desert Locust situation update, 3 March 2013

Desert Locusts arrive in Cairo

On 2 March, at least one immature swarm appeared in the afternoon in the eastern Cairo districts of New Cairo and Mokattam and dispersed into several smaller swarmlets. The locusts originated from breeding that has been in progress since November in southeast Egypt between Berenice and the Sudanese border. As vegetation dried out, small groups and swarms of immature adults moved slowly north along the Red Sea coast, reaching Marsa Alam on 8 February, Hurghada on the 16th and Zafarana on the 26th. From there, a few moved to Cairo yesterday.

The locusts reached Cairo by flying on warm southerly and southeasterly winds associated with a low pressure system over the central Mediterranean. As this system moves further east in the coming days, the winds will shift and come from the west and then from the north by 5 March. As locusts fly with the wind, this will allow them to move towards northeast Egypt, the Sinai and, perhaps, Israel and southwest Jordan today and tomorrow. Therefore, it is unlikely that more locusts will appear in Cairo, and the threat to the Sinai, Israel and Jordan should decline after Monday.

National locust teams in Egypt undertook control operations in east Cairo yesterday evening. Survey and control operations continue in all infested areas of the country. Israel, Lebanon and Jordan have been alerted.