Liberia pest outbreak:
Several villages in Liberia were attacked by a large outbreaks of a forest pest, Achaea catocaloides, larvae that feed primarily on trees. The infestation was first reported on January 14th in Bong county, Central Liberia and later moved to Lofa and Gbarpolu counties in the northern part of the country. A team of experts from FAO, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ghana witnessed the situation in seven localities and concluded that most of the damage was done to Dahame trees and only minor damage was seen on coffee, cocoa and plantain banana. Staple crops such as maize and millets were not affected. However, the sheer number of larvae and larvae-induced water and sanitation problems sent a wave of panic among villagers, drove some out of their homes and caused the POL to declare a national state of emergency. The current outbreak and future potential outbreaks can be managed by launching well planned intervention strategies. USAID deployed assessment teams and provided $100,000 through OFDA to assist affected communities with health and larvae-induced sanitation problems as well as strengthen capacity of GOL and local communities to scout, monitor and respond. OFDA field and HQ staff will continue monitoring the situation in the subregion in close collaboration with GOL, FAO and other partners and respond and report accordingly
(Note: There is an increasing risk of armyworms and grasshoppers occurring in the sub-region due to the change in the weather patterns and the landscape. End note).
The DL situation remained relatively calm in January. Only a few hoppers and adult groups were treated on 621 ha in northern Mauritania where much larger areas were sprayed in December. Small-scale breeding was reported along both sides of the Red Sea coast in Eritrea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Locust numbers increased in northwest Somalia around Gulf of Aden in January. Other countries remained calm (FAO-DLIS, AELGA, CNLA/Mauritania, PPD/Addis).