Bands likely in inaccessible areas of NE Ethiopia
A few small immature swarms persisted in northern Somalia where control operations declined. Although small-scale breeding was underway in Sudan, Chad and Yemen, no breeding was detected in other summer breeding areas in West Africa and along the Indo-Pakistan border despite good rains. The primary concern remains in northeast Ethiopia where hopper bands are likely to be forming but breeding areas cannot be accessed by ground and aerial teams due to insecurity. Similarly, limited breeding is likely to be underway in parts of northern Ethiopia, but limited access has hampered widespread fi eld operations.
Consequently, swarms are likely to start forming in northeast Ethiopia at the end of September and continue into October. As vegetation dries out, the swarms are expected to migrate north to winter breeding areas along the coast of Eritrea and eastwards to eastern Ethiopia and northern Somalia where they are expected to join any remaining immature swarms in northern Somalia, mature, and lay eggs with the onset of seasonal rains in October.
Given the complete absence of data and information from the Afar region in northeast Ethiopia, it is nearly impossible to predict with precision the scale of the breeding and subsequent migration. Therefore, preparatory steps will need to be taken in advance to respond once swarms appear in adjacent areas. Elsewhere, breeding occurred in the interior of Yemen, giving rise to some hopper bands.
New swarms could form from late September onwards and eventually move to winter breeding areas along the Red Sea in Yemen and southwest Saudi Arabia.