Photo credit: UN News Cente
Locusts can devastate crops and pastures. Photo: FAO/Giampiero Diana
Recent cyclones and heavy rains in Yemen and Africa could trigger locust plagues, UN agency warns
As unusually heavy and widespread rains continue in northwest Africa, the Horn of Africa and Yemen, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned today that the extreme weather conditions could favour Desert Locust breeding, and stressed the need closely monitor the situation over the next six months to prevent plagues.
“Extreme weather events, including torrential downpours, have the potential to trigger a massive surge in locust numbers. Rain provides moist soil for the insects to lay their eggs, which in turn need to absorb water, while rains also allow vegetation to grow which locusts need for food and shelter,” said Keith Cressman, FAO Senior Locust Forecasting Officer in a news release.
According to FAO experts, the locust situation in countries normally affected by Desert Locust remained mostly calm in October with only small-scale breeding activity detected.
However, the experts warned that impact of El Niño in Africa and the unprecedented back-to-back tropical cyclones Chapala and Megh in the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa could aid the insects in forming destructive swarms.
“The effects of a locust plague can be devastating on crops and pastures and thus threaten food security and rural livelihoods,” added Mr. Cressman.
The agency experts said that once airborne, swarms of tens of millions of locusts can fly up to 150 kilometres a day with the wind.
Read the full article: UN News Centre
Photo Credit: SciDevNet
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Thousands die in Yemen in fights over water
by Rehab Abd Almohsen
“The conflict in Yemen is exacerbating water scarcity by reducing access to safe drinking water. If urgent action is not taken, the country will fall into further humanitarian crisis.” by Fawzi Karajeh, FAO Regional Office for the Near East and North Africa
- Up to 4,000 people die each year in fights over scarce water resources
- The civil war means around 20 million people are without clean drinking water
- Solar power could pumps working during power cuts, but this adds to depletion problems
Clashes over water are killing up to 4,000 people a year in Yemen, its government says.
These conflicts, which predate the country’s civil war, include raids on wells and other fights over water access involving armed groups, according to Yemen’s interior ministry.
This compares with more than 2,500 deaths so far in the civil war that began in March and involves an alliance led by Saudi Arabia fighting supporters of Ali Abdullah Saleh, a former president who was ousted in 2012.
According to a regional representative of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the civil war has left around 20 million Yemenis without access to drinking water.
“With the current conflict, the number of people that don’t have access to clean water is believed to be more than 80 per cent of the population,” says Abdessalam Ould Ahmed, who represents the FAO’s Near East and North Africa region.
Yemen has the highest water scarcity in the world, he says, with more than half the population lacking a regular supply of drinking water even before the fighting began.
Read the full article: SciDevNet