Desert locusts outbreaks were reported in areas of northwestern Mauritania, northern Niger and northeastern Sudan, FAO said in a statement issued from its headquarters in Rome.”The number of locusts is increasing rapidly. They are beginning to concentrate themselves into groups characteristic of an outbreak,” FAO’s Locust Group said. “We need to address the problem now, before the situation deteriorates.”Desert locusts are normally solitary, scattered insects but when climatic conditions are favourable, for example after good rains and a mild temperature, they can rapidly increase in number, FAO said. After several years of drought, rains have expanded in the affected areas, the agency noted.”This situation has the potential to develop rapidly and it could be a matter of weeks,” the Locust Group said. “We must immediately boost the number of surveys, the level of monitoring and prepare for expanded intervention.””If the situation worsens this migratory pest may move northwards across northern Mauritania into Morocco, from Sudan towards the Red Sea and from Mali and Niger into Southern Algeria,” the Locust Group said.The FAO said it was mobilizing pesticide units in several areas.