UN warns of locust swarm menacing Horn of Africa
by Staff Writers
Addis Ababa (AFP) Feb 19, 2008
A gathering swarm of locusts threatens Ethiopia and other countries in the Horn of Africa, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warned Tuesday.
"In Ethiopia, we've had reports over the last few days of young locusts gathering in a five square kilometres (two square miles) swarm east of the Rift Valley on the high plateaux of the Oromo region ... and in the south of the Somali region to the east," OCHA said in a statement from their Addis Ababa office.
It warned the countries at risk -- principally Djibouti, northern Kenya, Eritrea and Yemen, as well as Ethiopia -- to set up surveillance mechanisms and begin protecting crops.
It added that the swarms would reach maturity and lay eggs before the onset of the rainy season, in March.
The OCHA cautioned that "surveillance operations and controls will be difficult in this region because of its mountainous terrain, and because the swarm is highly mobile."