Desert Locust outbreak continues to threaten food security and livelihoods in East Africa

The desert locust situation remains extremely alarming in the Horn of Africa, specifically Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia. Widespread breeding is in progress and new swarms are starting to form, representing an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods at the beginning of the upcoming cropping season. The high risk of further spread in the East Africa region necessitates an immediate and significant intensification of control activities.

This is the worst Desert Locust situation in 25 years for most of the affected countries – for Kenya, in 70 years – according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Unusual weather and climate conditions, including heavy and widespread rains since October 2019, have contributed to the spread. A further increase in locust swarms is likely to continue until June due to the continuation of favourable ecological conditions for Desert Locust breeding.

Outbreak update (24 March 2020):

  • Ethiopia - Hopper bands are present in Oromiya and SNNPR regions, including the Rift Valley. A new generation of immature swarms are forming and maturing. Aerial and ground control operations continue.
  • Iran - Hatching started on western Hormozgan coast in past few days. More hatching expected in southern Khuzestan, Busherh, southern Fars. Late instar hopper bands forming near Jask.
  • Kenya - Hopper bands continue to develop and form an increasing number of first-generation immature swarms in northern and central counties. The swarms are maturing are will be ready to lay eggs from the first week of April onwards. Further concentration expected in Marsabit and Turkana. Aerial and ground control operations continue.
  • South Sudan - Several mature swarms from the south appeared in the southeast near Torit on 18-19 March; at least one moved to Juba on the 21st, continuing to Bor on the 23rd and flew towards southwest Ethiopia.
  • Yemen - Hopper bands continue forming on southern coast near Aden and immature adults starting to form groups. Heavy rains and flooding in Wadi Hadhramaut. Scattered adults on northern Red Sea coast.

The situation is currently under control in the following countries: Eritrea, India, Iraq, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.

For more information, please go to the FAO Desert Locust webpage for the latest updates.

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