Ethiopia + 13 more

Desert Locust situation update 23 September 2021

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NEW SWARMS FORMING IN NE ETHIOPIA

OVERVIEW. As expected, new summer-bred immature swarms have started to form in the past few days between the Awash and Mille rivers in the Afar region of northeastern Ethiopia where late instar hopper bands are still present. The scale of the breeding, which is likely to extend to other areas of Afar as well as adjacent areas of southeast Tigray and eastern Amhara regions, is not well known as most places cannot be accessed by ground teams and there is an imposed No Fly Zone for survey and control aircraft. Small remnant spring-bred immature swarms are present in eastern Ethiopia between Dire Dawa and Djibouti, and on the plateau in northwest and northeast Somalia. Survey and control operations are in progress in all these areas. In Yemen, more immature swarms are forming from hopper band infestations in the interior. However, field operations are somewhat limited due to beekeepers and new areas of conflict. Elsewhere, the situation remains calm.

WHY IT MATTERS. More immature swarms will form during the coming weeks in the inaccessible breeding areas of northeast and northern Ethiopia. As vegetation dries out, the swarms are expected to move northwards through the highlands of Tigray to reach the Red Sea coastal plains in Eritrea and eastwards to the Somali region in eastern Ethiopia and adjacent areas of northern Somalia to join remnant spring-bred swarms that are still present. While below-average rains are forecasted for October and November, they should be sufficient to allow the swarms to mature and lay eggs, which will hatch and give rise to hopper bands until the end of the year. In addition, any swarms that cannot be treated in the interior of Yemen are likely to move during October to the Red Sea coast of Yemen and perhaps across the Gulf of Aden to northern Somalia and eastern Ethiopia.

CONTEXT. Insecurity is hampering field operations in parts of Ethiopia and Yemen.
SOMALIA. A few remnant immature swarms in the northwest and northeast.
ETHIOPIA. Hopper bands with new immature swarms forming in Afar (Mille zone); remnant swarms south of Djibouti.
DJIBOUTI and ERITREA. No surveys.
YEMEN. Hopper bands and more new swarms forming in the interior; limited control only.
SUDAN. Calm with a few groups of hoppers and adults in the interior.
• **SAUDI ARABIA**. No locusts in the southwest.
WEST AFRICA. Calm with local breeding in Mali and Chad.
SW ASIA. No locusts in Iran, Pakistan, and India.

TAKEAWAY. Current field operations in northern Somalia and eastern Ethiopia should be maintained while upscaling of surveys is needed in northern Ethiopia and southern Djibouti.
• Central Region (SERIOUS) – increase operations (Djibouti, northern Ethiopia); vigilance (Eritrea)
• Eastern Region (CALM) – continue summer surveys (Indo-Pakistan****)
• Western Region (CALM) – improve monitoring and reporting (Mauritania, Niger)