Ethiopia + 11 more

Desert Locust situation update 12 August 2021

Situation Report
Originally published
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OVERVIEW. Aerial control operations continue against a few small immature swarms on the plateau in northwest Somalia while one swarm was seen in the northeast. Limited swarm breeding is thought to be underway in northern Ethiopia where good rains have fallen, but the security situation has deteriorated in the Afar region during the past week, hampering survey and control operations by air and ground. In Yemen, small-scale breeding is underway in the interior. Elsewhere, the situation remains calm, and no significant developments are likely.

WHY IT MATTERS. Swarms are not likely to move from Ethiopia and Somalia to Eritrea, Sudan, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia now. Instead, the swarms in northern Somalia may move back and forth across the Ethiopia / Somalia border where they are likely to persist and remain immature due to dry conditions. The mature swarms in northeast Ethiopia will finish laying eggs in areas of recent rain, including adjacent areas of southern Djibouti. Hatching and band formation are expected to take place this month in Afar, causing locust numbers to increase and leading to the formation of new immature swarms from late September onwards. Although the scale of the anticipated breeding will be much smaller than in the past two years, if the necessary survey and control operations cannot be carried out safely in Afar, then a greater number of swarms are likely to form than originally anticipated that would migrate east and threaten eastern Ethiopia and northern Somalia in October.

CONTEXT. Continued insecurity could prolong the current upsurge in the Horn of Africa.

  • SOMALIA. Aerial control operations continue against a low number of immature swarms that persist on the plateau in the northwest (Somaliland). At least one small swarm moved east to the northeast (Puntland) in the past week. A few swarms are likely to stay on the plateau and remain immature.
  • ETHIOPIA. Low numbers of mature swarms are likely to be present and laying eggs in areas of recent rainfall in Afar with hatching and band formation imminent. However, most all areas can no longer be accessed due to a recent deterioration in security.
  • YEMEN. Good rains fell in parts of the interior and small-scale breeding is underway with a few groups of hoppers and adults; no invasions are expected.
  • SUDAN. Scattered adults in the interior where small-scale breeding will occur; no invasions are expected.
  • SAUDI ARABIA. No locusts in the southwest; no invasions are expected.
  • W AFRICA. Scattered adults in Niger and Chad where small-scale breeding will occur.
  • SW ASIA. No locusts seen during recent surveys in Iran, Pakistan, and India.

TAKEAWAY. Current field operations in northern Somalia should be maintained while upscaling of surveys is needed in northeast Ethiopia and Djibouti.

  • Central Region (SERIOUS) – increase operations in Djibouti and, if possible, northeast Ethiopia
  • Eastern Region (CALM) – continue summer surveys (Indo-Pakistan)
  • Western Region (CALM) – continue summer surveys (northern Sahel)