Good progress in Kenya & Ethiopia
In the past few days, light to moderate rains fell in northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia that could be sufficient to allow the swarms present in both countries to mature and eventually lay eggs, which would give rise to another generation of breeding. However, the scale of spring breeding is expected to be limited because of ongoing control operations that continue to reduce the number of swarms and the likelihood of poor spring rains starting next month.
In Ethiopia, immature swarms persist in Oromia (East Harerghe, Arsi, Borena) and SNNP (South Omo, Konso) regions, including southern areas of the Rift Valley where more swarms were reported.
In Kenya, small immature swarms are declining in northern and central counties. Many of the highly mobile swarms continue to be reported many times repeatedly, leading to multiple reports of the same swarm. There were no new reports of swarms arriving from Somalia. A few small swarms moved from southern Kenya to northeast Tanzania where they were reported near Mt. Kilimanjaro in Longido district of Arusha region and further south in Manyara region. One aircraft was deployed from Kenya and control operations are underway.
In Somalia, hopper bands and new immature swarms continue to form in the northeast (Puntland). Additional surveys are required in the northwest (Somaliland) where a similar situation is likely to be underway. The swarms that form in northern Somalia are likely to disperse along the northern plateau, drifting west towards Aysha district (Somali region) in eastern Ethiopia. A few swarms may move south towards Kenya.
The present situation in the Horn of Africa differs significantly from one year ago. The current swarms are smaller in size and less numerous. So far, the swarms have not matured or laid eggs. Very little rain has fallen since the end of the short rains last year. Intensive aerial control operations, supported by ground teams, are well-established and making good progress in reducing locust infestations.
A few adult groups and small swarms are forming on the Red Sea coastal plains in Sudan and Eritrea. In Yemen, low numbers of solitarious adults persist along the Red Sea coastal plains. In Saudi Arabia, hopper bands are present and groups of immature adults are forming on the northern Red Sea coast. An increasing number of mature adult groups and a few swarms are laying eggs in the interior between Riyadh and Hail where hatching is expected to start in early March. Although intensive control operations are in progress, a few groups have nearly reached the Persian Gulf and could reach Kuwait and the coastal plains in southwest Iran during periods of south-westerly winds.
The situation remains calm in the other regions.