Locusts invade more areas [Archives:2007/1051/Local News]

May 17 2007

Jamal Al-Najjar
SANA'A, May 14 ) The National Desert locust Monitoring and Controling Center expected that some mountainous areas in Yemen may be subjected to desert locust invasion. Locusts also have recently appeared in Shabwa, Al-Mahra, and Hadramout governorates.

The center attributed the locust appearance in the mountainous areas to the air currents due to air depressions that move to these areas, pointing out that locusts will be mature and strong enough to eliminate large plant areas.

It also expressed its concern that African locusts are may invade Yemen through Al-Mahra governorate if the air current turned its direction toward Pakistan, adding that swarms of locusts from both the Arab Peninsula and African Horn may invade the country next June, according to reports from UN and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Abdu Far'i Al-Rumaih, director of the National Desert locust Monitoring and Controling Center, maintained that the center is following up the movements of all kind of locusts invading the country in order to eliminate them in the three mentioned governorates according to the ability of the center.

The density of locusts is different from one governorate to another, according to the center. In Al-Mahra, the area invaded by locusts so far is 80 km long and 2 km wide in Saihoot and Al-Maseela regions, with around 5 to 15 locusts per square meter. The locusts spreading in this area are in the third and fourth stages of their life (after hatch), which involves a quick combat operation. Locusts in these stages of life are able to fly and ,therefore, it becomes difficult to control the situation especially if the center's available strategy doesn't include desert locust combat.

In Thamood district and Wdi Hathar (Hadramout governorate), locusts are still in thier first and second stages of life after they hatched last April. “Locust density in these areas exceeded our expectations because locusts there appeared in huge numbers, with 200 to 300 locusts per square meter”, said Al-Rumaih, adding, ” The invaded area in Thamood is 4.000 acres. Anti-locust operations are being conducted in this area wherein 1200 acres have been cleared so far.”

The center further said that desert locusts appeared in Hadramout governorate in Zumakh, Manookh, and Al-Abr areas. The number of locusts there is 30 to 40 per square meters, pointing out that anti-locust teams are due to start combat operations soon after shepherds and bee-farmars evacuate the area. In addition, there is information about spread of locusts in Wadi Al-Hareem, Hadramout Gov., in tremondous numbers. In this respect, Al-Rumaih confirmed that anti-locust team working now in Sailan area will move to Wadi Al-Hareem to conduct combat operations

Baihan and Oslan together with some nearby areas in Shabwa governorate are also invaded by desert locusts. Al-Rumaih confirmed that the center is to send teams to these regions in the few upcoming days. He also called for the agricultural guidance bodies in all the governorates to play their role by participation in the combact operations and not only through informing the center. Additionally, he called for citizens to cooperate with the center and inform it of any appearance of locusts.