Iran: Locust Infestation - Mar 2020

Status
Ongoing
Glide
IN-2020-000041-IRN

Disaster description

In late February, there were 22 reports of moderate to high-density immature swarms in coastal areas in Khuzestan, Bushehr, southern Fars and western Hormozgan provinces. Limited local breeding has occurred on the south-east coast in Hormozgan province. Last year, desert locusts resulted in major losses on over 500,000 hectares of farmlands and gardens. The number of locust swarms this year is predicted to reach seven-fold that of last year. As a result, controlling activities will continue until June at a large scale targeting up to a million hectares of agricultural lands in 10 southern and south-western provinces of the country. (OCHA, 10 Mar 2020)

Desert Locust invaded Iran in late February 2020 and quickly spread to four southern provinces of western Hormozgan, Boushehr, Khouzestan, and southern Fars, where the adults rapidly matured and laid eggs in areas that had received good rains. This breeding will cause a substantial increase in locust numbers once eggs hatch in March, hoppers form bands in April and a new generation of swarms form by the end of May. The southern provinces (along the Persian Gulf) have a very suitable condition for spring breeding and if not effectively managed, two generations could occur, giving rise to a 400-fold increase in locust numbers before the summer. (FAO, 24 Mar 2020)

Six provinces in southern Iran have been infected by swarms of desert locust in an area of around 45,000 hectares of land. Hatchings in southern provinces are expected to increase to the great amount before the summer if not effectively managed. For instance, it is forecasted the number of hatchings in Boushehr province could reach up to 800 billion from 2 billion as of 15 March. (OCHA, 31 Mar 2020)

Desert Locust has affected more than 54,600 hectares of land in six provinces: Hormozgan, Sistan and Baluchistan, Khuzestan, Fars, Bushehr, and [southern parts of] Kerman. According to the recent trend of breeding, hatchings and forming of the desert locust, a wider area of land on the Persian Gulf, Hormozgan coast, and the south-western and south-eastern coasts will be further affected if not effectively managed. The wave of the desert locust has damaged agricultural lands, threatening agricultural-based livelihoods and food security. At least, $ 4 million is required to continue to combat the desert locust with pesticides until this August. (OCHA, 8 Apr 2020)

As of 28 April, the number of provinces that are severely affected by the desert locust has increased from six to seven as a result of the recent detection of desert locust in South Khorasan Province. The Ministry of Agriculture Jihad has continued its spraying operations in the locust-infested provinces. Despite all the measures taken, it is predicted that a new wave of locust would invade the country, primarily affecting the southern provinces of Bushehr, Hormozgan and Sistan and Baluchistan, for the next 10 days. (OCHA, 28 Apr 2020)

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