Ethiopia + 8 more

Desert Locust situation update - 29 September 2020

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© FAO

Worrisome situation in parts of the Horn of Africa and Central Region

While the Desert Locust situation continues to improve in Southwest Asia, it is deteriorating in parts of the Central Region due to swarm breeding in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia.

In Eritrea, swarm breeding is underway, causing hopper groups and bands to form in the western lowlands bordering Sudan and on the Red Sea coastal plains between Assab and Karora. Breeding extends to eastern Sudan where an increasing number of swarms are laying eggs along the western side of the Red Sea Hills between Derudeb and Sinkat. Hatching and band formation have commenced, and more is expected during the next two weeks. Control operations are in progress.

The situation is very serious in Ethiopia where an increasing number of immature swarms are forming from breeding in the northeast region of Afar where late instar hopper bands are present and fledging. Late instar hopper bands are also present in the railway area between Dire Dawa and Aysha. In the past few days, some swarms have moved into the Amhara region, and cross-border movements by several swarms have been reported between Ethiopia and northwest Somalia. Immature swarms are increasing in northeast Somalia. Control operations are in progress.

In Yemen, hopper bands and swarms continue to form in the interior between Marib and Wadi Hadhramaut. Several immature swarms moved towards the Gulf of Aden coast near Lahij. On the Red Sea coast, hopper bands are forming in the north and extend northwards to coastal areas near Jizan, Saudi Arabia. A few maturing swarms have been seen in the adjacent Asir Mountains south of Al Baha and mature breeding groups are present further north along the coast near Lith. Control operations are in progress.

In northwest Kenya, a few residual immature swarms persist in Samburu county. One swarm was treated with biopesticide in Baringo and Laikipia counties.

As the northerly winds over the Horn of Africa become established in the coming weeks over northern Somalia and progressively move southwards during November, immature swarms in northeast Ethiopia, northern Somalia, and southern Yemen are expected to migrate southwards to the Ogaden in eastern Ethiopia and adjacent areas of central Somalia where they could eventually threaten and reach northern Kenya from November onwards.

In Southwest Asia, the situation continues to improve as the seasonal monsoon withdraws from the summer breeding areas along both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border. Control operations continue in Pakistan against small infestations that persist in the Lasbela Valley west of Karachi.

The current situation remains calm in the summer breeding areas of the northern Sahel in West Africa and Sudan where locust numbers remain low and no significant developments are likely.