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Desert Locust situation update - 18 September 2020

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The upsurge is easing in Southwest Asia but remains serious elsewhere

The Desert Locust situation continues to improve in Southwest Asia and there are initial signs of improvement in parts of East Africa. Nevertheless, it remains serious in Yemen and other areas of the Horn of Africa. The developing situation is being watched closely along both sides of the Red Sea where it could deteriorate as a result of swarm breeding.

In East Africa, only a few immature swarms remain in northwest Kenya where aerial control operations continue. A small third generation of breeding is likely to commence in October but may be limited by below-normal Short Rains that are predicted for this year. In northeast Ethiopia, numerous hopper bands are present mainly in the Afar region from substantial breeding. Although aerial control operations are in progress, new swarms are likely to form in the coming weeks. In Somalia, aerial control operations using biopesticides are making good progress against immature swarms on the northern plateau in Somaliland and Puntland. Further south, an increasing number of adult groups were reported in the central region of Galguduud in the past week.

In Yemen, hopper bands and swarms continue to be present in the interior and are spreading to coastal areas in the south and on the Red Sea. Limited control operations were undertaken in some areas.

There is concern that early swarm breeding is likely to commence on the Red Sea coastal plains of Yemen, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, and perhaps Sudan where good rains fell in early August and again this month. Intensive monitoring and vigilance are required.

In Southwest Asia, the situation continues to improve. Small infestations persist in the Lasbela Valley west of Karachi in Pakistan. Regular and intensive surveys should be maintained along the Indo-Pakistan border to detect any signs of a small second generation of breeding.

The situation remains calm in the summer breeding areas of the northern Sahel from Mauritania to western Eritrea. Even though good rains have fallen with floods in some areas, locust numbers are expected to remain low and no significant developments are likely.