As part of their continued efforts in “the fight against the locust,” the Ministry of Agriculture has begun to use helicopters for air monitoring to assess the extent of new locust hatchings over a broader Negev area. The aerial images are comforting: to date, fewer swarms have been sighted in the fields. However, the Ministry emphasized the locust penetration hatched in the Sinai area and currently making its way “on foot” towards Israel’s borders. They warn that flight maturity is not far off and will endanger Israel – as was the case with the March swarms. This substantially increases the areas needing localized treatment.
The Ministry of Agriculture opened a public hotline in its field call center to receive reports about locust hatchings in residential locations or airborne swarms ,expected to occur over the next few days. The hotline – 09-9920981 – will be open between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.
As noted, following a directive from Minister of Agriculture Yair Shamir, a call center was opened on monday to organize activities and take appropriate decisions. It also coordinates activities of all parties dealing with the locust in the field, including Ministry of Defense personnel, farmers, and representatives of the regional councils.
The Ministry of Agriculture estimates that despite minimal damage so far, swarming continues. Further to predictions of new locust invasions from Egypt, damage may occur in the future. At this point, neither the duration of additional invasions nor the extent of future damage can be estimated.