Desert Locust Bulletin 363 (December 2008) [EN/AR]

from Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Published on 31 Dec 2008

General Situation during December 2008
Forecast until mid-February 2009

In early December, there was a sharp increase in locust activity in northwest Mauritania where hoppers and adults formed small groups in a limited but remote area of sand dunes. National teams were immediately mobilized and treated more than 14,000 ha which brought the situation under control by the end of the month. Nevertheless, there is a moderate risk that low numbers of residual adults will move to northern Mauritania and adjacent areas of Western Sahara, Morocco and western Algeria. Therefore, surveys in these areas should be intensified. Elsewhere, the Desert Locust situation remained calm as little rain fell in the recession area for the second consecutive month. Consequently, only a few locusts were present in the winter breeding areas along both sides of the Red Sea, and breeding was reported in Eritrea and Saudi Arabia. During the forecast period, small-scale breeding is expected to occur on both sides of the Red Sea and on the northwest coast of Somalia. Although locust numbers may increase slightly, no significant developments are expected.

Western Region. As vegetation began to dry out in northwest Mauritania in early December, solitarious hoppers concentrated and increased in density, fl edged and formed small groups of adults. The infestations, which originated from local breeding during the autumn, were confi ned to a relatively small area east of Nouakchott. In order to prevent further grouping and the possibility of swarm formation, ground teams treated most of the infestations. As a precaution, surveys were increased in Western Sahara and Morocco, especially in those areas that received unusually heavy rains in September, but no locusts were found. Nevertheless, regular surveys should be maintained in order to detect any adult movement and breeding that could occur during the forecast period. No surveys were carried out and no locusts were reported elsewhere in the Region although low numbers of adults may be present and could persist in northern Mali, Niger and southern Algeria.

Central Region. Low numbers of solitarious adults were present and breeding during December in the winter breeding areas along the Red Sea coast in Saudi Arabia and Eritrea. A similar situation is likely in Yemen. Scattered adults were present on the coast in Sudan. Ecological conditions were more favourable along the northern Eritrean coast than in the other countries. At the end of the month, there were unconfirmed reports of locusts near the Sudanese border. Unless additional rains fall, only limited breeding is expected to occur during the forecast period along the Red Sea coast. Small-scale breeding is also likely to take place on the northwest coast in northern Somalia where ecological conditions improved during December. Consequently, the situation is expected to remain calm in the Region.

Eastern Region. The locust situation remained calm in the Region during December as generally dry conditions prevailed and no locusts were reported. A few adults could appear by the end of the forecast period in coastal areas of Baluchistan in southeast Iran and western Pakistan. Early breeding may occur if rains fall and temperatures remain warm.