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Strong wind brings locust swarms to Dubai, Abu Dhabi

Ashwani Kumar /Abu Dhabi Filed on May 26, 2020 | Last updated on May 26, 2020 at 06.54 am
Strong wind, brings, locust swarms, Dubai, Abu Dhabi

(Supplied photo)

The FAO said there was an increased risk along both sides of the India-Pakistan border.

Swarms of desert locust were spotted in parts of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, especially Al Ain, and officials said these could be attributed to the strong winds and unstable weather in the country.

An official at the National Centre of Meteorology said locusts move with the winds. Though they can't predict where the swarm would head next, the official noted that wind speeds may reach 50kph in the central parts of the UAE on Tuesday.

"You can expect winds to move from southeasterly to northeasterly. So it will be central parts like Dubai, Al Ain and further to Fujairah. It is due to the movement of the wind (that) you see them (locust) in these areas," the official said.

Locust infestations have been 'alarming' in East Africa, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Despite control operations, recent heavy rains have created ideal conditions for the pest's reproduction in several countries.

The FAO said there was an increased risk along both sides of the India-Pakistan border.

"New swarms from current breeding will form from mid-June onwards, coinciding with the start of the harvest. There is a risk that swarms will migrate to the summer breeding areas along both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border as well as to Sudan and perhaps West Africa," the FAO said in a statement.

"In Saudi Arabia, control operations are in progress against immature adult groups that formed in the Nafud Desert in the north and mature adult groups in the south near Yemen. Similarly, control operations continue against immature adult groups in northern Oman near UAE."

Earlier this year, the UAE authorities said they are fully prepared to combat any locust infestation. The Abu Dhabi Food Safety contended that it was ready to control the spread of the insects to avoid potential economic damage to the local agriculture sector. 

Ashwani Kumar

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