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Desert Locust situation update 19 April 2021

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Situation Report
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Desert Locusts appear in Jordan and Syria

A few small mature Desert Locust adult groups and swarmlets appeared in the past few days in Jordan and Syria. The infestations are extremely limited in size and do not represent a large-scale invasion. Small-scale control operations have been carried out in both countries.

In Jordan, a few small groups and swarmlets first began appearing on 14--15 April in the south near Mudawwara and in the east near Ruwaished and the Rawdat Al-Bandan Reserve. Aerial control operations were immediately mounted by the Air Force, treating at least 300 ha.

In Syria, small mature groups arrived in the Euphrates Valley near the Iraq border on 17 April near Ash-Shafah and crossed the river to Al Sayyal in Abu Kamal district of the southeast. The adults settled near crops where local control operations were quickly undertaken.

The rare arrival of Desert Locust in Jordan and Syria are thought to be a single, unusual event caused by several days of strong southerly winds that brought the adult groups and swarmlets from currently infested areas several hundred kilometres to the south in northern Saudi Arabia near Tabuk and Al Jawf. The adults themselves originated from extensive breeding this past winter along the northern Red Sea coastal plains in Saudi Arabia. Although substantial control operations have been carried out by Saudi Arabia, treating more than 200,000 ha this year, it is common that some infestations escape detection and control because the breeding areas are so vast and remote.

While further arrivals are unlikely to occur in Jordan and Syria, there remains a risk that some of the mature adults may have laid eggs. If this is the case, hatching can be expected in about two weeks and small hopper groups and bands could form. If so, control teams should wait at least a week to ensure that all hatching is finished before treating in order to avoid spraying the same area more than once.

Elsewhere, the situation remains unchanged in the Horn of Africa where control operations continue against a decreasing number of immature swarms in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.