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Swarms of locusts predicted heading for Middle East

Christian Fernsby |
The most devastating plague of locusts in over 30 years is about to hit Africa and the Middle East, according to Rome based Senior Locust Forecasting Officer Keith Cressman.

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The officer, who is employed by Locust Watch, a division of the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, on Monday cited the organization’s most recent report forecasting that new “extremely alarming” swarms of the insects were forming in the Horn of Africa.

The current widespread breeding in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia represents “an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods at the beginning of the upcoming cropping season,” writes the Locust Watch website.

Not all regions of the Middle East will be affected, however, confirmed Cressman, with the swarms set to bypass Israel.

Locust Watch works in collaboration with affected countries to assess field data, information and reports in real time, said Cressman, adding this is subsequently “combined with analysis of remote sensing (satellite) imagery, weather data and forecasts, and historical data in our geographic information system and database that go back to the 1930s.”

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