Kenya + 12 more

Desert Locust situation update - 13 May 2020

Several swarms arrive in India from spring breeding areas

The current situation remains extremely alarming in East Africa where it is an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods since it coincides with the current growing season. New swarms from current breeding will form from mid-June onwards, coinciding with the start of the harvest. At this time, there is a risk that swarms will migrate to the summer breeding areas along both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border as well as to Sudan and perhaps West Africa.

During the past week, mature swarms in Kenya moved further north in the northwestern counties of Marsabit and Turkana to lay eggs. So far, only some of the hatching and a few hopper bands have been detected. In Ethiopia, swarms declined in the south due to control and breeding while mature swarms moved into the northeast (Afar) and eastern (Somali) regions. Hopper bands continued to mature near Dire Dawa as well as in adjacent areas of northwest Somalia. In central Somalia, mature adults are present near the Ethiopia border in Galguduud region. Control operations continue in all three countries. In South Sudan, limited breeding is underway in the southeast near Torit where a few hopper bands have formed.

The situation remains worrisome in Yemen where good rains have fallen in the interior. Egg-laying by adult groups and swarms, hatching and band formation are underway in the interior and along the southern coast. In Saudi Arabia, immature adult groups formed near the Persian Gulf, and hopper groups persist in Nafud Desert in the north. In Oman, immature groups and a few hopper groups are present in the northern interior near UAE and the northeast. Control operations continue in Saudi Arabia and Oman.

The situation is also threatening in Iran where hopper bands are maturing along the southwestern coastal plains, and another generation of breeding is underway in the southeast where hatching is taking place on the coast near Jask and in the interior of Sistan-Baluchistan. In Pakistan, adult groups are migrating to the India border from breeding areas in Baluchistan and the Indus Valley where hopper groups are present as well as in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In India, more adult groups and small swarms arrived from Pakistan in the past few days and moved east into Rajasthan, reaching Jodhpur. Some swarms could continue further east. Control operations are underway in all three countries.

The situation remains calm in West Africa. There is a risk that a few swarms from spring breeding areas in Arabia and East Africa (Kenya and Ethiopia) could reach the eastern part of the Sahel in eastern Chad starting in about a month if they migrate before the summer rains commence. While the current threat is assessed as low, it can change significantly in the coming weeks based on rainfall, winds, and the locust situation in Arabia and East Africa. Therefore, investments in preparedness and anticipatory actions should be immediately and quickly scaled up to face this potential threat.