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Desert Locust situation update - 24 August 2020

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Swarms maturing in the Horn of Africa

In the Horn of Africa, aerial control operations continue against several immature swarms prevailing in northwest Kenya. Some of the adults are starting to mature, suggesting the possibility of a generation of breeding once the short rains start in October. On 22 August, at least one swarm crossed into northeast Uganda and reportedly spread to Moroto, Amudati, Napak districts while another swarm arrived in southeast South Sudan to the south of Kapoeta in Eastern Equatoria. The swarms are mobile and not expected to mature or breed in either country. In northeastern Ethiopia, mature swarms from Afar concentrated along a 400 km stretch of the escarpment on the eastern edges of the Amhara and Tigray highlands where egg-laying will cause hopper bands to form. So far, at least one band has formed in Tigray south of Mekele. Aerial and ground control operations are in progress. Immature swarms persist in the Harar Highlands, in nearby eastern areas, and on the plateau in northwest Somalia where aerial control operations are in progress using biopesticides. These swarms could mature and eventually breed in areas of rainfall, including the northwest coast where adult groups are present. The risk of swarm migration to the Indo-Pakistan summer breeding area has nearly subsided.

On the Arabian Peninsula, hopper bands and swarms continue to form in the interior, southern coast, and central highlands of Yemen. Breeding is also likely on the Red Sea coast. Control operations were carried out against a mature swarm in the Asir Mountains of southwest Saudi Arabia near the Yemen border. In southern Oman, at least one immature swarm formed on the Salalah coast from local breeding.

In South-West Asia, good progress is being made against the first generation of hopper groups and bands that have formed mainly in Rajasthan, India and to a lesser degree in Tharparkar district in southern Sindh,
Pakistan. This is the result of more than 1,000 teams, 750 vehicles and nearly 6,000 staff involved in the ground control campaign in Pakistan and hundreds of teams in India.

In West Africa, small-scale breeding by solitarious adults is underway in the northern Sahel of Mauritania,
Mali, Niger, and Chad, which is normal for this time of year. Similar breeding is also in progress in Sudan.
Although rains have fallen several hundred kilometers further north than usual this month, the situation is expected to remain calm in the summer breeding areas. Nevertheless, there is a need to maintain close and regular vigilance.