Ethiopia + 6 more

Desert Locust situation update 25 March 2021

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© FAO

Swarms continue to decline in Horn of Africa

As a result of poor rains in Kenya and Ethiopia, the swarms currently present in both countries are remaining immature and continue to decline due to ongoing control operations. Without rainfall, the swarms will not mature and breed, thus severely limiting the scale and extent of any breeding this spring. The current situation is likely to continue for the remainder of this month as no significant rains are predicted to fall in northern Kenya, Ethiopia or Somalia.

For this reason, there is cautious optimism that the current upsurge is winding down in the Horn of Africa, especially if poor rains limit breeding this spring in northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia, followed by equally poor rains during the summer in northeast Ethiopia. Nevertheless, it is essential to increase surveys and sustain current control operations in the affected countries as well as maintain a close watch for any unusual developments.

In Kenya, a few small immature swarms continue to be seen mainly in the Rift Valley of Nakuru county west of Mt. Kenya. There were also occasional swarm reports south of Nairobi in Kajiado county near the Tanzania border and further north in Samburu county. Control operations are in progress, but some could not be treated as they are near communities.

In Ethiopia, control operations continue against a few small immature swarms in the highlands east of the Rift Valley, mainly in Arsi district of Oromia region and, to a lesser extent, further north in East Harerghe district. The situation has calmed down in southern Oromia and SNNP.

In Somalia, control operations are continuing in the northeast (Puntland) against some immature swarms on the plateau northwest of Iskushuban. A few hopper bands persist and at least one swarm was reported to be maturing in the same area. In the northwest (Somaliland), scattered immature adults are present on the plateau between Hargeisa and Burao. Most of the swarms are expected to remain on the northern plateau and perhaps drift west towards Jijiga and Dire Dawa in eastern Ethiopia.

In northern Tanzania, small-scale hatching occurred northwest of Arusha from remnants of mature swarms that laid eggs at the beginning of this month. Ground teams are treating a few small early instar hopper bands that have formed.

In Saudi Arabia, locust infestations declined on the northern Red Sea coast. However, control operations are in progress in the interior against numerous early instar hopper bands from hatching in the spring breeding areas near Gassim.

Elsewhere, the situation remains calm. In Sudan, limited control operations are in progress against early instar hopper bands on the Red Sea coast north of Tokar Delta. Scattered adults are present in a few other places on the coast between Suakin and Karora. In Yemen, a few adults are present on the southern coastal plains.