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Desert locust situation update 19 Jun 2009: Desert locust swarms persist in Ethiopia and N Somalia

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In Ethiopia, no new swarms have arrived from northern Somalia since 10 June but there are about a dozen swarms reported in the country. Many of the swarms split into smaller swarmlets and groups that have moved into the Somali region (Shinile and Jijiga zones), Dire Dawa, Oromiya (E. and W. Haraghe zones), Harari, and the central Rift Valley in Afar (zones 3 and 5). A small swarm moved into the northern highlands (North Wello) on 9 June and reached southern Tigray on the 12th. Small groups of adults also arrived in southern Gondar zone in Amhara region on the 14th. Control operations are nearly impossible because the immature swarms are very mobile and difficult to follow in the rugged and inaccessible terrain. Some damage occurred on irrigated cotton crops in the Afar region.

The situation in northern Somalia and in Yemen remains unclear due to a lack of surveys. Ground surveys resumed today in northern Somalia to check areas on the plateau and escarpment where immature swarms have been reported between Boroma and Erigavo.

There remains a high risk that a few small swarms from northern Ethiopia could reach the summer breeding areas of western Eritrea and central Sudan while other swarms from northern Somalia could cross the Gulf of Aden and move along the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula and cross the Arabian Sea to the summer breeding areas along the Indo-Pakistan border. National locust teams are on alert and have been mobilized in Eritrea, Sudan, Oman, Pakistan and India. So far, no swarms have been reported in these countries.