A detailed analysis of a Desert Locust Upsurge in Saudi Arabia (Nov 1996 - May 1997)
FAO Locust Forecast Officer, Rome
In the Central Region of the distribution area of the Desert Locust, small scale control operations were in progress in Oman and Saudi Arabia against infestations produced during the spring of 1996. In May, hoppers and immature adults on the Batinah Coast in northern Oman began to gregarize as vegetation dried out. Ground and aerial teams treated 4000 ha. In Saudi Arabia, ground teams treated 500 ha of scattered adults near Qunfidah on the Tihama in May and June. This left only low numbers of locusts present in the Region. A cyclone then brought widespread rain to Oman and Yemen in June which was followed by heavy rains over the northern Red Sea in November. This initiated a regional upsurge which affected countries bordering the Red Sea. Desert Locust infestations were primarily concentrated in Saudi Arabia and to a lesser extent in Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, northern Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. Swarms from this upsurge spread to Sudan in May 1997 which led to the continuation of the upsurge. Large-scale control operations were undertaken in Saudi Arabia in 1997 and 1998 which arethought to have contibuted significantly to the end of the upsurge by summer 1998.
This paper presents an in-depth analysis of the situation and operations carried out in Saudi Arabia in the early stages of the upsurge from November 1996 to June 1997.
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