Ethiopia + 7 more

Desert Locust situation update 19 December 2020

News and Press Release
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New swarms continue to form and threaten Kenya

Immature swarms continue to form this past week within a large area of breeding in eastern Ethiopia and central Somalia. Although intensive ground and aerial control operations are in progress, a substantial number of hoppers bands are present and fledging to form new immature swarms. These swarms are expected to move south at any time to southern Somalia, southern Ethiopia, and northern Kenya. On 17 December, a large immature swarm was seen over Kebri Dehar in the eastern part of the Somali region of Ethiopia.

Although immature swarms have yet to appear in Kenya, breeding is in progress on the coast and near the Tanzania, Somalia, and Ethiopian borders where egg-laying and hopper bands have been reported. While control operations are underway, surveys should be conducted between Mandera and Turkana.

Breeding is in progress in northern Somalia because of favourable conditions that developed from the heavy rains brought by cyclone Gati last month. Substantial hatching and band formation are expected on the northwest coast, on the northern plateau, and in the northeast during the coming weeks. Ground and aerial control operations continue.

Breeding is also underway along both sides of the Red Sea, which is normal for this time of year. Swarms and adult groups are laying eggs on the coastal plains of Eritrea, Sudan, and Saudi Arabia. Immature adults were reported in the interior of Saudi Arabia. Control operations are in progress in the three countries. In Yemen, high numbers of solitarious adults are present on the central and northern coast of the Red Sea where surveys continue.

Intensive survey and control operations should be maintained in Ethiopia and Somalia, extreme vigilance and preparedness are required in Kenya, and close monitoring and control should continue along both sides of the Red Sea.