Ethiopia + 6 more

Desert Locust situation update 16 March 2021

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Swarms declining in Kenya and Ethiopia

Swarms currently present in Kenya and Ethiopia continue to decline due to ongoing control operations and no breeding. In the absence of rainfall, the swarms have remained immature and are awaiting the start of the rains to mature and breed. So far, these rains have not yet started but showers may occur by the of this month in some areas that could initiate breeding. Nevertheless, the seasonal predictions continue to call for well-below normal rains this spring, which could severely limit the scale and extent of any upcoming breeding.

In Kenya, a few small immature swarms were seen in the past few days between Mt. Kenya and the Rift Valley in Nyandarua, Nakuru and Baringo counties. In Ethiopia, immature swarms persist in the Ahmar Mountains east of the Rift Valley in Oromia (Bale, Borema, Arsi) between Awasa and Harar, but appear to be declining in southern SNNP (South Omo, Konso). In Somalia, late instar hopper bands are present in the northwest (Somaliland) and the northeast (Puntland) where a limited number of immature swarms continue to form. Other areas in the northeast are likely to contain locusts but cannot be accessed. Swarms that form in the northwest and northeast are expected to disperse along the northern plateau while some could move into adjacent areas of eastern Ethiopia near Jijiga and Dire Dawa.

There is cautious optimism of signs that the current upsurge is winding down in the Horn of Africa, especially if poor rains limit breeding this spring, followed by equally poor rains during the summer in northeast Ethiopia. However, it will be essential to sustain current survey and control operations in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, and maintain vigilance in case there is any unusual rainfall.

The situation remains calm in Yemen where scattered adults are present on the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden coasts. As vegetation dries out further, a few groups and perhaps small swarms could form on the Red Sea coast and move inland across the highlands to the lowland desert between Marib and Wadi Hadhramaut where breeding could occur if rains fall.

In Saudi Arabia, control operations continue on the northern Red Sea coast between Bader and Umm Lajj against hopper bands and immature adult groups as well as in the interior where adult groups are breeding and more hatching is underway between Riyadh and Hail, causing hopper groups and bands to form.

In Sudan, limited breeding continues along the Red Sea coast near Tokar Delta where control operations are in progress against a few hopper bands and groups of hoppers and adults. In Eritrea, a few hopper groups are present on the central coast near Massawa.

The situation remains calm in other regions.