Ethiopia + 11 more

East Africa - Desert Locust Crisis, Fact Sheet #7, Fiscal Year (FY) 2020

Situation Report
Originally published


  • FAO expects desert locust infestations to persist across Ethiopia and Somalia through at least March 2021.

  • Yemen remains a reservoir for desert locust breeding, posing a continued threat to the Horn of Africa region.

  • Widespread breeding in Red Sea coastal areas of Eritrea and Sudan will substantially increase infestations in Eritrea in particular.

  • Since January, control operations have prevented 1.5 million MT of crop loss at harvest time, safeguarding the food security of 9.9 million people and protecting grazing areas for the livestock of 687,000 households.


Rains Support September Desert Locust Breeding in Much of East Africa

Desert locust infestations continue to threaten food security and livelihoods in northeastern Ethiopia and northern Somalia, where heavy rains have intensified breeding in recent weeks, causing increased bands of hoppers—immature, wingless locusts—and immature swarms to form, FAO reports. Similarly, unusually heavy rainfall has contributed to widespread breeding in Red Sea coastal areas of Eritrea and Sudan, with FAO expecting infestations in Eritrea to increase substantially in October.

Despite above-average rainfall in most East African countries in recent months, below-average rains are forecast for much of the Horn of Africa region between October and December, possibly reducing vegetation availability for locusts and limiting new swarm formation, according to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)’s Climate Predictions and Applications Center. However, FAO and IGAD expect desert locust infestations to continue threatening crop production and pasture regeneration significantly in most affected areas of Ethiopia and Somalia through at least March 2021.
Additionally, immature swarms in northeastern Ethiopia and northern Somalia—possibly supplemented by additional swarms from Yemen—will likely begin moving south toward Kenya as regional winds shift in October. Swarms are likely to migrate to Ethiopia’s Ogaden Desert and central Somalia in the coming weeks, potentially reaching northern Kenya—where only a few residual swarms remained as of September 30—by late October; continued surveillance will remain critical for detecting additional breeding and containing any new infestations in the coming months.