FAO Desert Locust Bulletin No. 352 - 04 Feb 2008
Forecast until mid-March 2008
The Desert Locust situation remained serious in eastern Africa during January. Despite aerial and ground control operations, immature swarms formed in eastern Ethiopia and moved towards the centre of the country. There is a risk that some of these swarms could move to the coast in southern Eritrea, Yemen, northern Somalia or reinvade eastern Ethiopia, mature and lay eggs with the onset of the rains. Control operations were undertaken against hopper bands that formed in central Oman and on the Red Sea coast in Sudan. Locusts that escape control in Sudan could form a few small groups and swarms that may cross the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia while those in Oman could move to the spring breeding areas along the Iran/Pakistan border where unusually good rains fell in January. All of the above-mentioned countries should remain on high alert. The situation was calm in the Western Region where no signifi cant developments are expected.
Western Region. The situation continued to remain calm during January. Local breeding continued in northwest Mauritania but locust numbers remained low and insignifi cant. Scattered adults were present in the Sahara in Algeria and in northeast Mali. Low numbers of locusts are expected to persist in these countries and small-scale breeding could occur in areas of recent rainfall. No signifi cant developments are likely during the forecast period.
Central Region. Immature swarms formed in eastern Ethiopia in early January and moved west into the Rift Valley and the Harar Highlands where aerial and ground control operations treated more than 3,000 ha. Swarms are expected to eventually mature and lay eggs with the onset of the long rains or move towards the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden coasts. Ecological conditions were less favourable than usual in the winter breeding areas along both sides of the Red Sea. Most of the locusts were concentrated in the Tokar Delta in Sudan while only scattered adults were present on the coast in Eritrea, Yemen and Saudi Arabia as well as in northwest Somalia and the interior of southeast Egypt. In central Oman, ground teams treated nearly 6,000 ha of hopper bands and groups of immature adults. No locusts were reported in Kenya although there is a low to moderate risk that a few swarms could appear in the northwest in February.
Eastern Region. Scattered adults were present on the coast in southeastern Iran during January. Similar populations may be present in western Pakistan. There is a low risk that adults and perhaps a small group or swarm could appear on the coast from Oman. As unusually good rains fell in the spring breeding areas in both countries, locust numbers are expected to increase from egg laying and hatching that occurs during the forecast period.