A huge locust swarm has moved towards Egypt's second largest city of Alexandria, threatening crops in one of the country's most fertile agricultural zones.
According to AFP, the swarm extended for as much as 60 kilometres along the coast between the towns of El-Hammam and Sidi Abderrahman. In an attempt to save their crops, farmers set fire to vehicle tyres sending plumes of black smoke into the sky.
Africa's biggest locust swarms in more than a decade have already destroyed millions of hectares of crops south of the Sahara, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
The Egyptian agriculture ministry has recently ordered anti-locust squads to remain on high alert.
Locust swarms were first detected in Egypt's Western Desert late last month. They have already attacked crops on the northwest coast near the border with Libya, prompting officials to order the massive use of pesticides, AFP reported on Monday.
Earlier this month, FAO said that a combination of drought and locusts have caused severe localized damage to crops, pasture and legumes in many rural communities in the Sahel.
The situation is particularly critical in Mauritania, where locusts continue to destroy crops and where the damage could get worse. (menareport.com)