Desert Locust situation update 13 September 2019

Serious situation persists in eastern and central regions

The current Desert Locust situation remains serious and worrisome in the Eastern and Central regions where good rains continue to fall and breeding is causing locust numbers to increase further.

In the Eastern Region, ground control operations are in progress along both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border against a second generation of breeding. So far this month, Pakistan as treated 9 200 ha of hopper and adult groups in Cholistan, Nara and Tharparkar deserts while India has treated 7 500 ha of hopper and adult groups as well as immature and mature swarms in West Rajasthan. Breeding is expected to continue in both countries through October.

In the Central Region, hoppers bands are present in the interior of Yemen south and east of Marib. More importantly, good rains have been falling in the winter breeding areas along the Red Sea coast since early August, which have caused ecological conditions to become favourable for breeding several months earlier than normal in Yemen, southwest Saudi Arabia and Eritrea. By early September, hatching had commenced, and hoppers are forming bands in Yemen and groups Saudi Arabia and Eritrea. In addition, scattered adults appeared recently further north along the coast of Saudi Arabia near Lith. Saudi Arabia treated 900 ha and Eritrea 53 ha so far this month. Prevailing insecurity continues to restrict survey and control operations in Yemen.

In Ethiopia, several swarms were laying eggs in the highlands of northwest Afar near Amhara region and scattered adults are present in the railway area between Dire Dawa and Djibouti. Aerial control operations treated nearly 5 500 ha. During the last week of August, several swarms reportedly appeared on the plateau of northwest Somalia between Boroma and Burao that may have come from Yemen. High numbers of maturing adults may be present on the coast east of Berbera. In the northeast, groups of adults persisted on the plateau between Hadaftimo and Iskushuban.

Fortunately, locust numbers remain low in the summer breeding areas of the interior of Sudan where, despite good rainfall, only small-scale breeding is underway. Heavier rains fell in the western lowlands of Eritrea where breeding is expected to cause locust numbers to increase.

In the Western Region, the situation remains calm. Scattered adults are present in the northern Sahel of Chad and Mali, and probably in Niger and Mauritania as well. Locust numbers will increase slightly as a result of good rains that are in progress and small-scale breeding.