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Desert Locust situation update 21 June 2021

NEW SWARMS FORMING IN SOMALIA

OVERVIEW. New immature swarms are forming from hopper band infestations in northwest Somalia; however, the number and sizes of the swarms remain low so far. Hopper bands continue to be present in parts of eastern Ethiopia. Control operations continue in both countries. While prevailing winds are likely to concentrate most of the swarms on the plateau of northern Somalia where they should persist until vegetation dries out, there is a low risk that a few small swarms could migrate across the Gulf of Aden to southern Yemen and others may try to reach the Indo-Pakistan summer breeding areas via the eastern coast of Oman.

WHY IT MATTERS. The current developments have been anticipated and locust numbers in the Horn of Africa are lower than last year at this time. Nevertheless, new swarms that form during June and July are expected to move west to the Afar region in northeast Ethiopia where above-normal summer rains are predicted that would allow one generation of breeding from August to October. The scale of this migration will depend on the success of current survey and control operations in eastern Ethiopia and northern Somalia.

CONTEXT. Important infestations persist in Somalia and Ethiopia.
SOMALIA. Aerial and ground operations are making good progress against numerous hopper bands on the coast, escarpment, and plateau in the northwest (Somaliland); consequently, only a few small immature swarms have formed so far. Control operations continue against smaller hopper band infestations in the northeast (Puntland).
ETHIOPIA. Hopper bands continue to develop in eastern Bale zone of Oromia region and the railway area near Ayasha in western Somali region; no infestations seen by aerial surveys in eastern Somali region.
DJIBOUTI. Control is underway against small late instar hopper bands in the southeast.
SAUDI ARABIA. Several small groups of immature adults were treated in the Asir Mountains of the southwest. No locusts seen in the northern interior.
YEMEN. No significant infestations seen recently in the interior; surveys continue.
SUDAN. Small groups of immature and mature adults, some laying eggs, are present in the Nile Valley where ground control operations are underway.
SW ASIA. No locusts seen during recent surveys in Iran, Pakistan and India.

TAKEAWAY. Intensive ground and aerial operations should continue in eastern Ethiopia and northern Somalia to reduce swarm formation by detecting and treating as many hopper bands and new swarms as possible.
• Central Region (SERIOUS) – maintain survey and control (Ethiopia, Somalia); heightened alert in Yemen and Oman
• Eastern Region (CALM) – heightened alert in summer breeding areas (Indo-Pakistan)
• Western Region (CALM) – initiate summer surveys next month (northern Sahel)

Previous updates

Latest monthly bulletin (No. 512, May 2021)

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Latest update (21 June 2021)

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Latest 6-month precipitation forecasts (July-December 2021)

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Fifth instar hoppers bands from 500' over NW Somalia (20/6/21)

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