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Desert Locust situation update 14 November 2019

Situation remains serious along the Indo-Pakistan border and in the Horn of Africa

Control operations continue against groups of hoppers and adults, bands and swarms along both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border. Ground teams in India treated 13 028 ha during the first week of November in Rajasthan and the Kutch of Rann for a cumulative total of nearly 290 000 ha since the beginning of the summer. In Pakistan, 12 000 ha were treated on 1–10 November in Cholistan, Nara and Tharparkar deserts of which 400 ha were by air. Vegetation remains green in most places due to a late-ending monsoon.

Some groups and swarms have started to leave the summer breeding areas along the Indo-Pakistan border. On 10 November, a swarm flew over Karachi, Pakistan, moving from east to west. On the 12th, an immature swarm was seen on the northern coast of Oman while a mature swarm was reported in the northeast. Low numbers of mature adults were reported in Baluchistan of southwest Pakistan while small groups of immature and mature adults were seen during the first two weeks of the month at eight different places in adjacent areas of southeast Iran. More swarms are expected to form along both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border and move west towards Baluchistan in Pakistan and Iran. Some of the swarms may threaten agriculture areas in the Indus Valley of Pakistan.

In Ethiopia, the situation remains very serious in the northeast (Amhara, Tigray, Afar) and east (Dire Dawa, Somali, Oromia) where pasture and cropland edges are reported to be heavily infested with mid-instar hopper bands and fledglings that have formed at least a dozen immature swarms. New hatching continues in the Ogaden and immature swarms have been seen coming from adjacent areas in northern Somalia where hopper bands are forming on the northwest coast and plateau in areas of previously undetected breeding. Three DLCO-EA aircraft have been deployed in Ethiopia where some 3 000 ha were treated on 1–10 November of which 2 690 ha were by air. Breeding will continue in areas of recent rainfall in the Ogaden, causing more hopper band and swarms to form in the coming weeks. There remains a moderate to high risk that a few swarms may move southwards to reach northeast Kenya.

In Yemen, mid-instar hopper bands formed on the northern Red Sea coastal plains between Al Zuhrah and Suq Abs. Ground teams could only treat 570 ha due to a shortage of funds. The hoppers will fledge shortly, causing immature groups and small swarms to form. There is a risk that some of these populations may move into adjacent coastal areas of Saudi Arabia where small-scale breeding continues in a few places between Jizan and Lith. Breeding occurred on the southern coast, causing hopper bands to form.

In Sudan, a few mid-instar hopper bands were treated (700 ha) in the Rive Nile State in early November while low numbers of adults were seen in North Kordofan. As vegetation continues to dry out, a few small groups may form and move to the Red Sea coastal plains where scattered adults are already present in the Tokar Delta and in Wadi Oko/Diib in the northeast. In Eritrea, breeding is in progress on the Red Sea coast north of Massawa and hopper groups are forming. There is a risk that a few small swarms may appear from adjacent areas in northeastern Ethiopia.

Elsewhere, the situation remains calm.

Previous updates

Latest Desert Locust Bulletin (No. 493, October 2019)

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Previous Desert Locust Bulletin (No. 492, September 2019)

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C+E region warning (28/10/19)

Horn of Africa warning (18/10/19)