Swarms persist in Kenya and Ethiopia
In Kenya, immature swarms persist mainly in northern and central counties. In the past five days, swarms have been reported in 15 counties (Madera, Wajir, Garissa, Marsabit, Samburu, Isiolo, Meru, Tharaka, Tana River, Kilifi, Kitui, Machakos, Laikipia, Nakuru, Nyandarua) but as many swarms are highly mobile, the same swarm can easily be sighted several times. There have been no further reports of swarms in Turkana while a few small immature swarms formed from previous breeding along the coast near Lamu and probably in adjacent areas of southern Somalia. The number of swarms arriving from the north continued to decline. While rains have fallen in southern counties, more rain is needed in the north where the swarms are more likely to eventually mature and lay eggs. In order to reduce the next generation of breeding, ground and aerial control operations are focusing on the swarms before they can mature and lay.
A similar situation is underway in Ethiopia where immature swarms persist mainly in southern SNNP (South Omo) and east of the Rift Valley in Oromia (Bale, Borema, Arsi). As little rain has fallen in these areas, most of the swarms are expected to remain immature until more rainfall occurs to allow them to mature and lay eggs. Current ground and aerial control operations are working to reduce these swarms and the scale of the upcoming breeding.
In Somalia, a few new immature swarms have started to form in the past few days from breeding in the northeast (Puntland) where hopper bands are still present. A few residual hopper bands are likely to be on the northwest coast and one immature swarm was seen on the plateau south of Hargeisa, suggesting that new swarms are forming from the coastal breeding. As more swarms form in the north, most are expected to disperse along the northern plateau while some could move into adjacent areas of eastern Ethiopia or move south towards central and southern Somalia.
Mainly dry conditions are expected during the remainder of February in Somalia, northern Kenya, and southern Ethiopia.
In Yemen, scattered adults are maturing along the Red Sea coastal plains where small scale breeding could occur in the few areas that remain favourable. Current infestations are not high enough to warrant control operations. No surveys were conducted recently along the Gulf of Aden plains.
In Saudi Arabia, immature adult groups from local breeding along the Red Sea coast moved through the Asir Mountains to the interior near Riyadh and Gassim. Breeding continues along the coast on both sides of the Sudan / Eritrea border. Control operations continue in all three countries.
The situation remains calm in the other regions.