Locusts in Canary Islands and Portugal: FAO

Immature adults and a few swarms coming from Northwest Africa reached the Canary Islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote 26-28 November and the Algarve coast in southern Portugal on 1 December. Locusts may have also reached nearby coastal areas in Spain south of Sevilla. These locusts are arriving on warm southerly winds that occur for a day or two ahead of low pressure systems that bring rain to the Mediterranean Basin.
Consequently, there is a risk that additional locusts could appear during periods of warm southerly winds in Madeira, and southern Portugal and Spain. In adjacent areas on the Northwest African mainland, intensive aerial and ground control operations are underway against immature swarms in Morocco and Algeria that continue to arrive from West Africa and move into the valleys and plateaux of the Atlas Mountains including the Souss Valley, an important agricultural area.

The majority of the swarms will stay immature and remain there until spring, providing a good opportunity to reduce locust numbers significantly in the next four months. More swarms have arrived in western Libya from the Sahel, and a few swarms have matured and laid eggs that hatched and hopper bands are forming.

Control operations continue against swarms in southwest Mauritania and several immature swarms have reinvaded the south and southeast as well as neighboring areas in northeast Senegal. These swarms are coming from the east in the Sahel. Locusts and a few swarms continue to be reported from southern Israel and adjacent areas in Jordan, probably from nearby locusts that have dispersed over a large area of the northern Red Sea.

These are expected to move further south along the Red Sea. So far, an immature swarm reached the northern coast of Saudi Arabia near Duba and scattered adults were present further south near Al Wahj.

Additional international assistance is required to supplement major efforts already under way and to prevent the situation from deteriorating further.