General Situation during March 2007
Forecast until mid-May 2007
The Desert Locust situation continued to remain very serious during March in the Central Region. Hopper bands and swarms formed along the Red Sea coastal plains near the Sudan/Eritrea border and to a lesser extent on the northwest coast of Somalia. Some swarms also formed from local breeding on the Red Sea coast in Saudi Arabia. Control operations are underway in Eritrea, Sudan and Saudi Arabia. As currently infested areas are drying out, any swarms that are not controlled are expected to move into the Eritrean Highlands and the interior of Sudan, and to the interior of Saudi Arabia and Yemen where good rains fell in March. A few swarms could continue to Baluchistan in Iran and western Pakistan where widespread rains fell recently. All efforts should be made to monitor the developing and potentially dangerous situation carefully.
Western Region. The situation remained calm in the region during March. Limited breeding continued in one area of northwest Mauritania. Scattered adults were present in parts of western Algeria and western Libya. If swarms originating from current infestations on the Red Sea coast move towards the interior of Sudan, then there is a slight risk that they may continue towards the Western Region in May. FAO will keep countries well informed in advance.
Central Region. Hopper bands continued to form on the Red Sea coast between Massawa, Eritrea and Tokar, Sudan during March. By the end of the month, most of the hoppers had were forming along the border within an area of about 3,000 km2. Local breeding continued on the central Red Sea coast in Saudi Arabia. At the end of the month, a few small swarms formed and some of the adults started to move towards the spring breeding areas in the interior. Ground control in the three countries was supplemented by aerial operations at the end of the month. As vegetation is drying out on the coast, most of the swarms along the Sudan/Eritrea border are likely to move into the Eritrean Highlands and perhaps continue west into Sudan. A few small swarms could also move further north along the coast or cross the Red Sea and reach the central interior of Saudi Arabia where they would eventually lay eggs in areas of recent rainfall. In northern Somalia, a few small swarms formed on the northwest coast and moved into adjacent areas of eastern Ethiopia. A few more swarms could form in northwest Somalia and move east along the northern coast, north to areas of recent rainfall in the interior of Yemen, or into adjacent areas of Ethiopia and eventually to the Highlands.
Eastern Region. Unusually heavy rains fell in the spring breeding areas in southeast Iran and western Pakistan during March. Small-scale breeding was in progress on the coast in western Pakistan and limited control operations were carried out. Nevertheless, more breeding is likely to occur during the forecast period, causing locust numbers to increase slightly. There is also a low risk that a few swarms could reach these areas from current infestations along the Red Sea coast and in northern Somalia.