Heavy rains disrupt control operations, support additional breeding in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia
Monitoring and surveillance capacity continue to require strengthening across East Africa
Control teams treat 902,000 acres in 10 countries between January and April, guarding 720,000 tons of cereal crops against locusts
Relief actors continue to emphasize the need to scale up desert locust control operations in central and northern Kenya, southern Ethiopia, and parts of Somalia, where locusts were continuing to mature and form additional swarms as of mid-May. Widespread rainfall will likely also facilitate further breeding in the coming weeks, and effective control measures are urgently required to prevent new swarms—expected to form in June and July, during the beginning of the harvest season—from further undermining agricultural and livestock production, as well as food security, in the three countries, according to the UN Agriculture and Food Organization (FAO).
Although control operations are ongoing, FAO reports that limited surveillance capacity was hindering efforts to scale up response interventions, as well as preventing the optimal use of available aircraft, as of late April. Flight and shipping restrictions—initiated in response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic—have also delayed deliveries of essential equipment and supplies in several countries in recent weeks.
FAO notes that intensified control efforts may have contributed to reduced locust populations in key epicenters in Kenya and Ethiopia during April; however, adverse weather conditions in parts of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia have hindered surveillance and control activities during May.
USAID/OFDA continues to support the desert locust response in East Africa, providing nearly $19.6 million to bolster surveillance and pest control activities, as well strengthen local capacity to manage infestations, in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Sudan to date. In recent weeks, USAID/OFDA funding has supported the provision of critical equipment—including aircraft and vehicles for surveillance and control—to response teams, and training on locust monitoring, detection, and control.