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Atypical desert locust activity

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Yemen
  • June 2013
Atypical desert locust activity

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through June 2013
  • Key Messages
    • According to FAO’s Desert Locust Information Service, groups of adult locusts are migrating from the Saudi Arabia to Yemen. 

    • Satellite imagery suggests that first season rains were below average in the western cropping areas through the end of the season in mid-June.

    • In December 2012, more than 40 percent of poor households had poor food consumption in Sana’a and Al-Baidah, despite favorable labor-to-cereal terms of trade.




    Central lowlands/wadis

    • Groups of adult locusts are migrating from Saudi Arabia towards summer breeding grounds in Yemen.
    • Small- to moderate-scale breeding is likely between now and August/September in areas of central and eastern Yemen with vegetation.

    Western Yemen

    • Satellite imagery suggests that rains have been below average.
    • The below average total rainfall and the erratic distribution of the rains could lead to a second season of below-average harvest.

    Projected Outlook through June 2013

    Locusts began arriving to Yemen from Saudi Arabia in June. The areas currently affected are the central lowlands and wadis, notably around Bayhan. More groups and small swarms can be expected to move into the interior of Yemen between Marib, Ataq and Hadhramaut during the remainder of June, where intense May rains favored vegetation development. These areas are very arid with limited cropping; FEWS NET anticipates that the main impact of the locusts will be on pastures, though some wadi cultivation may be affected. More information regarding impacts and close monitoring are needed.

    Most of the rural population in Yemen live in the densely populated, agropastoral highland and coastal areas in the western part of the country, where performance of the March to May/June (first season) rains was poor (Figure 2). Vegetation conditions are also below average in many areas, particularly in the southwest (Taiz), though irrigated cash crops are likely faring as usual. If the first-season harvests are below average, this will be the second consecutive season of below-average harvest in these areas. Though agriculture does not necessarily contribute significantly to poor households’ food sources, it is often a key source of demand for unskilled labor and a source of income from crop sales in rural areas and therefore important to ensure access to food from markets.

    Prices of wheat and wheat flour, the primary staple, as well as labor, are relatively stable and favorable to food access. Stable wheat prices and steady or increasing labor-to-wheat terms of trade due to seasonal labor demand trends are expected through at least September.

    The main cause of food insecurity in Yemen is the impact of conflict. Returns of IDPs in due to 2011/12 conflict in the South is nearly complete, but according to IOM, 292,954 people remain displaced in the center and North (Sa’ada, Hajja, Amran, Dhamar, Al-Jawaf, and Sana’a). Displaced households rely on local labor opportunities and assistance to meet their food needs. Returning households have few options for rebuilding livelihoods.

    Figures Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    90-day percent of normal rainfall March 26-June 23, 2013.

    Figure 2

    90-day percent of normal rainfall March 26-June 23, 2013.

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work here.

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