Desert locust alerts in West Africa and Saudi Arabia

The Desert Locust situation has deteriorated further and is a cause for concern in West and Northwest Africa and in Saudi Arabia. Large numbers of hopper bands are present in Mauritania and to a lesser extent in Mali, Niger, Morocco and Algeria. Swarms have started to form in Mauritania, Mali and Niger. More swarms are expected in the coming weeks. Most of these are expected to remain in place and slowly mature and lay eggs but a few may move into southern Algeria and Morocco. Large numbers of hopper bands are also present on the Red Sea coast in Saudi Arabia. Swarms are expected to form this month, mature and lay eggs on the coastal plains. As some infestations are present in the western interior, there is a risk that swarms could move into the spring breeding areas of the Saudi Arabian interior and threaten Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait and western Iran. The situation is less critical on the western side of the Red Sea where little rain has fallen and hopper groups and bands are present in only a few places in Sudan. Insignificant adults are present on the Red Sea coast of Eritrea and Yemen, and in northern Somalia. Limited breeding continues near Lake Nasser, Egypt. Although control operations are underway in all affected countries, additional assistance is required to reduce locust numbers and prevent a further deterioration of the situation.