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Locust outbreak threatens Egypt : UN

Saturday 16 February 2019 11:53 AM

Ezz El Din Abu Stait, agriculture minister
Ezz El Din Abu Stait, agriculture minister

A locust outbreak in Sudan and Eritrea is spreading rapidly along both sides of the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation said on Friday, flagging a possible threat to crops and food security.

"Good rains along the Red Sea coastal plains in Eritrea and Sudan have allowed two generations of breeding since October, leading to a substantial increase in locust populations and the formation of highly mobile swarms," the FAO said.

At least one swarm had crossed to the northern coast of Saudi Arabia in mid-January, with further swarms a week later.

Rains from two cyclones in 2018 had triggered breeding of locusts in the Empty Quarter region of Saudi Arabia, near the Yemen-Oman border, and a few swarms from two generations of breeding had reached the United Arab Emirates and southern Iran.

There was a risk of further spread towards the India-Pakistan border, the FAO statement said.