Desert locust survey team make a stop for tea in their driver's family tent south of Akjoujt. - - In 1993, the Emergency Centre for Locust Operations (ECLO) of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), mobilized international assistance to combat an upsurge of the desert locust that originated on the coastal plains around the Red Sea in late 1992. The Centre had been deactivated in the spring of 1989 when locusts were brought under control in some 40 countries in Africa, the Near East and Southwest Asia. With the reappearance of desert locusts in the Red Sea area, however, ECLO was immediately brought back into full operation. ECLO acts as a clearing house for information, analysing locust reports, weather and habitat data derived from ground and satellite sources. The Centre prepares a monthly update on the locust situation as well as six-week forecasts for locust-affected countries and the international donor community. Since ancient times, it has been recognized that the battle against this plague requires constant vigilance: prevention is the most effective cure. By monitoring environmental conditions in locust breeding grounds, ECLO provides early warning of conditions that might encourage proliferation and spread. When the Red Sea swarms moved eastwards to Pakistan, control effectively reduced the infestation in these areas, but other swarms moved westwards, reaching Mauritania by mid-1993 and spreading to Algeria, Senegal and Morocco. ECLO is coordinating the international campaign to contain the pest. The Centre channels aid from the donor community to affected zones in the form of technical assistance, sprayers, pesticides, flying hours, communications equipment, spare parts, training and operating expenses. More than 3.9 million hectares have been treated in affected countries since the beginning of the present upsurge.