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Desert Locust situation update - 21 July 2020

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© FAO

Risk of swarm migration from Horn of Africa prevails

In Kenya, locust swarms have declined in the northwest, mainly in Marsabit county, but continue to be present in Turkana where aerial and ground control operations are in progress. Most of these swarms are still expected to migrate northwards to Ethiopia and Sudan via South Sudan. There is a risk that a few swarms may cross the border into northeast Uganda. The scale of the migration of remaining swarms from Kenya is likely to be smaller than previously anticipated due to ongoing control operations.

In Ethiopia, ground and aerial control operations continue mainly against immature swarms in the northern Rift Valley and in the Harar Highlands in the east. There are reports of locusts in the south coming from Kenya, and locusts are present in the northern highlands of Amhara and Tigray. Timely reporting has been compromised due to Internet disruptions. More breeding is expected during the summer, which may be supplemented by a few swarms arriving from Yemen.

In Somalia, ground and aerial control operations are underway against immature swarms on the northern plateau between Hargeisa and Garowe. The swarms are moving eastwards across the north and they could continue to migrate across the Indian Ocean to reach the summer breeding areas along both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border.

In Yemen, heavy rains fell in the interior and flooding occurred in Wadi Hadhramaut. Breeding continues throughout the interior as well as in some coastal areas that have given rise to numerous hopper bands and swarms. There is a risk that some of these swarms may appear on the Red Sea coast and breed in areas of recent rainfall. Survey and ground control operations are underway in a few places. No locusts were present in adjacent areas of southwest Saudi Arabia.

In Sudan, low numbers of mature solitarious adults are present in the Nile Valley, near Kassala and in White Nile and North Kordofan states. Control was carried out against local breeding near Atbara. No swarms have been detected from Kenya.

In Oman, control operations are in progress against hopper groups and bands along the southern coast near Salalah while low numbers of solitarious mature adults are present in the adjacent interior. There have been no reports of swarms appearing on the east coast from the Horn of Africa.

In Pakistan, control operations are in progress against hopper groups and bands in the Nagarparkar area of southeast Sindh near the Indian border. Groups of adults are maturing in Tharparkar and Cholistan deserts where laying is expected in areas that have already received monsoon rains. This will cause a further increase in locust numbers as hatching and hopper band formation occur in the coming weeks.

In India, adult groups and swarms are maturing throughout Rajasthan where laying is underway in many areas. So far, a few hopper groups and bands have formed but substantial hatching is expected in the coming weeks. Control operations are in progress. There have been no recent reports of additional locusts in the northern states as most of the adult groups and swarms have returned to Rajasthan as expected.

There remains a risk that a limited number of swarms could migrate from northeast Somalia to the Indo-Pakistan border area during the remainder of this month.

In Iran, a few small residual infestations remain in Khorasan province and control operations are in progress.

In West Africa, low numbers of solitarious adults are present in southeast Mauritania, northern Niger, and parts of western and eastern Chad. While the threat of invasion by swarms is declining, continued vigilance, preparedness, and increased surveillance remain paramount.