Saudi authorities clear 6,550 hectares of desert locust swarms

The Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture said field control and exploration teams have stepped up their efforts to eliminate the swarms of the insects that have hit the Eastern, Hail and south Al-Jouf regions in unprecedented numbers. (AFP)
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Updated 18 March 2020

Saudi authorities clear 6,550 hectares of desert locust swarms

  • Another wave expected soon as unprecedented numbers swarm Eastern, Hail and Al-Jouf regions

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture cleared 6,550 hectares of land of desert locust between Mar. 1 and 15.

The ministry said field control and exploration teams have stepped up their efforts to eliminate the swarms of the insects that have hit the Eastern, Hail and south Al-Jouf regions in unprecedented numbers. Strong winds and dense swarms in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran have had a big effect on the numbers of locusts in northeastern Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States.

The situation is improving in the Kingdom, officials said, with most of the swarms in the eastern region and Hail eliminated. Another wave is expected in the coming days.

The ministry said that locust swarms are normal at this time of year, especially in the north, northwest, Riyadh, Qassim, much of Hail, Madinah and Tabuk. It added that as a result of drought in many places infested by locusts, and continual sand storms, medium-to-high-intensity swarms of diba, or young, locusts are expected in Al-Ahsa, Dammam, Al-Jubail, Nairyah and Qaryat Al-Ulya areas. Low-intensity waves are expected in Qassim, northeastern Riyadh, northern Hail and south of Al-Jouf.

Field control and exploration teams have greatly increased their efforts to prepare for the coming waves, the ministry said. They have deployed control and exploration vehicles, and the ministry has hired a national company to assist with the efforts to eliminate the swarms and implement precautionary measures against potential threats from nearby countries such as Yemen, Oman, India, Pakistan and Iran.

The implementation of seasonal plans by the ministry’s Locusts Control and Migratory Pests Center also continues, including pre-emptive surveys and exploratory operations to combat locusts and other pests, protect the Saudi agricultural sector and prevent swarms spreading to neighboring countries.


Saudi CERT warns against phishing attacks in relation to COVID-19

Updated 36 min 25 sec ago

Saudi CERT warns against phishing attacks in relation to COVID-19

JEDDAH: The Saudi Computer Emergency Response Team (Saudi CERT) has warned that people are using the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic to initiate online phishing scams and attempt to steal personal information.

“Be careful and beware of messages that you could receive from fake accounts under the name of  the Ministry of Health asking you to click on an unknown link,” Saudi CERT wrote on Twitter.

Saudi CERT shared a number of tips to avoid falling for such scams: “Continuously follow reliable news sources from the Ministry of Health’s official accounts, make sure that the messages received are from official accounts and check with the sender before opening anonymous links.”