Swarms of locusts attack crops across Saudi Arabia

Swarms of locusts attack crops across Saudi Arabia
Plagues of locust can wipe out entire crops. (File/Reuters)
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Updated 20 February 2020

Swarms of locusts attack crops across Saudi Arabia

Swarms of locusts attack crops across Saudi Arabia
  • The huge number of locusts and the speed of the wind helped the swarms to spread in regions such as Al-Qassim, Hail and the Eastern Province

MAKKAH: Locusts have invaded every region across the Kingdom. The insects arrived from nearby countries, which have struggled to limit the spread of the vast swarms.
Saudi authorities have doubled the daily aerial sprayings to combat the locusts.
Mohammad Al-Shammrani, director of combating locusts and plagues at the Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Water, told Arab News that the swarms came from East Africa.
Red locusts can be ferocious and eat crops.
The swarms attacked crops in Jazan, Asir, Al-Baha, Al-Leith, Qunfodah and Makkah and were combated by specialized teams. The environmental conditions in these regions allowed the locusts to mature quickly and lay eggs.
“We’ve combated locusts on a daily basis from the beginning of January to the end. We exterminated the first generation of the swarms, which attacked Jazan all the way to the Makkah region. We targeted two swarms of locusts in Qunfodah and Al-Leith,” he said.

New swarms entered the Kingdom from nearby countries such as Eretria, Ethiopia, Somalia, Yemen, Oman and India. The swarms entered Najran from Yemen and few of them reached the Asir and Riyadh regions, he explained.
The huge number of locusts and the speed of the wind helped the swarms to spread in regions such as Al-Qassim, Hail and the Eastern Province.
Combat teams are working relentlessly to monitor the movement of swarms and carry out aerial sprayings.
The effects of locusts on crops can be detrimental if no swift interventions are made. The swarms can wipe out crops in a few minutes. That is why Al-Shammrani said the sprayings have been intensified in the spring and winter seasons and from the south coast to the west coast as well as the north coast of the Red Sea.
“We use spraying aircraft in rugged areas and terrain. All the insecticides are approved by the Food and Agriculture Organization,” he said.
Locusts tend to multiply during rains and flaky weather, especially in desert and high-humidity areas. There are seven countries that are infamous for having large swarms of locusts: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Yemen, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Somalia.


Cabinet reaffirms Saudi commitment to Yemen security, development

Updated 02 December 2020

Cabinet reaffirms Saudi commitment to Yemen security, development

NEOM: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday reaffirmed its keenness on achieving security and development for the people of Yemen.
The Cabinet urged moving forward to implement the Riyadh Agreement to promote peace and stability, through a a comprehensive political solution.
The Cabinet also addressed the recently announced Digital Cooperation Organization, which sees Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait and Pakistan participating in the initiative.
The agreement aims to strengthen cooperation across all innovation-driven areas and accelerate the growth of the digital economy.
The ministers also reviewed efforts to uproot corruption in the Kingdom, highlighting an agreement co-signed by the Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime to carry out the Riyadh Initiative, aiming at consolidating international cooperation among law-enforcing agencies relating to fighting corruption.
At the session, which was chaired virtually by King Salman because of the pandemic, the Kingdom reiterated its denunciation of the terrorist attack that targeted civilians in Nigeria. The attack, near Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, left over 40 people dead over the weekend.
The Cabinet reaffirmed the Kingdom’s stand along the side of Nigeria against such heinous acts which target lives of the innocents and destabilize security and stability, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.
The government also authorized the interior minister to sign a MoU with the UK’s Home Office on cooperation in the field of civil defense and civil protection.
The Cabinet also authorized the Board of Directors of the Communications and Information Technology Commission to hold public auctions for the frequency spectrum for commercial purposes.
The ministers also approved the Juvenile Law and the Chambers of Commerce Law.