Saudi Arabia + 6 more

Desert Locust situation update - 26 January 2021

News and Press Release
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Swarms appear in SW Saudi Arabia from Yemen

Several immature swarms arrived on the Red Sea coast and Asir Mountains in southwest Saudi Arabia during the past week. These swarms are likely to have originated from adjacent coastal and highland areas in northern Yemen that cannot be accessed safely. Substantial control operations are in progress against early and mid-instar hopper groups and bands on the Red Sea coast in Saudi Arabia from Jizan to Al Wajh. In Yemen, scattered adults are present on the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden coasts that have not required control so far.

In the Horn of Africa, immature swarms continue to arrive and disperse throughout northern and central Kenya. In the past two days, swarms have been reported in 10 counties (Wajir, Garissa, Tana River, Isiolo, Marsabit, Samburu, Laikipia, Meru North, Meru Central, and Tharaka). So far, only a few swarms have started to mature. In the southeast, fledging occurred near Taita Taveta and a few late instar hopper bands were present along the coast.

In Ethiopia, immature swarms have moved into Afar and eastern Amhara regions while other immature swarms continue to be present and are spreading out in parts of Oromia and SNPP regions. Immature swarms persist south of Jijiga and a few remain in parts of the eastern Somali region where it is drying out. There is a risk that a few swarms could continue to move from Afar into Amhara and Tigray and perhaps reach the Red Sea coast of Eritrea and Saudi Arabia. Swarms will mature shortly and start laying eggs mainly in Oromia and SNNP.

In Somalia, hopper groups and bands are present on the northwest coast and in the northeast where laying is still ongoing. Some swarms have remained in central areas (Mudug, Galgaduud) where they are mature and may breed in any favourable places. Immature swarms are present in the south where they continue to move to Kenya.

As conditions remain dry in some parts of southern and northern Ethiopia and north-central Kenya, the swarms are likely to spread out looking for favourable areas to mature and lay eggs if rains fall in the coming weeks. This would give rise to hopper bands during February and March. Intense aerial and ground control operations are in progress to reduce the current swarms so that the scale of the upcoming breeding may be lower.

Breeding continues along the Red Sea coastal plains on both sides of the Eritrea/**Sudan** border where control teams are treating hopper groups and bands. Similar breeding is in progress in Wadi Diib in northeast Sudan.