Desert Locust situation update, 24 November 2021: A few swarms in southern Ethiopia

OVERVIEW. A few small mature swarms, most likely those that arrived on the Ethiopia/Kenya border earlier this month, have concentrated in southern Ethiopia between Konso and the Kenya border where control operations are underway. There have been no further reports of locusts in Kenya and elsewhere in Ethiopia. Aerial and ground control operations continue against small hopper bands in northeast Somalia while scattered adults persist in the northwest. Limited ground control operations are underway on the central Red Sea coast of Eritrea between Faro and Gelalo where groups of hoppers are present from earlier breeding by swarms that originated from northeast Ethiopia. Small-scale breeding continues on the southern coast of Yemen where hoppers and a few small groups of adults are present. No reports from Sudan.

WHY IT MATTERS. The swarms that arrived in southern Ethiopia are likely to breed, giving rise to small hopper bands in December. Some breeding may also extend to border areas in northern Kenya from Mandera to Marsabit. In northeast Somalia, new swarms could start to form in about mid-December and small-scale breeding could occur in areas that receive rainfall on the northern plateau and northwest coast. Any breeding in eastern Ethiopia and central Somalia is likely to be extremely limited due to poor rainfall, which is not expected to improve. Therefore, the potential threat and scale of any swarm migration to Kenya towards the end of this year depends on the success of current survey and control operations in northern Somalia and the continuation of monitoring efforts and control, if necessary, in eastern Ethiopia. Intensive efforts should remain focused in Somalia, Ethiopia, and northern Kenya. Surveys should be increased in the winter breeding areas along both sides of the Red Sea. In Eritrea, a few small swarms could form in early December where they are likely to remain and eventually breed.

CONTEXT. Current breeding continues to be confined by poor rains in the Horn of Africa.
• SOMALIA. Control operations continue against small hopper bands in the NE that could form swarms in mid-December; solitarious adults in the NW that may breed.
• ETHIOPIA. A few mature swarms seen in southern Oromia near the Kenya border.
• KENYA. No locusts seen in the past two weeks, but breeding could occur along northern border.
• ERITREA. A few small swarms may form in early December from current hoppers groups on the central Red Sea coast.
• YEMEN. Breeding expected on the Red Sea coast.
• SAUDI ARABIA. No locusts in the southwest but may arrive from nearby Yemen.

TAKEAWAY. Intensify current survey and control efforts to reduce breeding in the Horn of Africa.
• Central Region (SERIOUS) – maintain operations (Ethiopia, Somalia); increase operations (Eritrea, N. Kenya, Yemen)
• Western Region (CALM) – no significant activities
• Eastern Region (CALM) – no significant activities


Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations


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