Situation Update: Locust Crisis in Madagascar - 14 December 2015

Situation Update: Locust Crisis in Madagascar - 14 December 2015
Dec 2015

Locust situation

With the rainy season in place since late October, weather and ecological conditions have gradually become favorable for the development of the Malagasy Migratory Locust during the month of November, despite some local disparities. From the first ten-day period of November 2015, patches of hoppers of almost all instars (second to fifth) with a gregarious behavior, sometimes mixed with young adults, were reported in the Outbreak Area (Zomandao lowland and Horombe plateau), and as of 10 November in the Invasion Area (Bongolava-Belobaka area). These patches are issued from the mature adults reported in October.

Moreover, throughout November and in early December, scattered adult populations of the Malagasy Migratory Locust, of solitary or transiens-degregans phase, at a low to medium density, depending on the locations, were still present in the Invasion Area (Bongolava area and Bestiriry lowland) and in the Outbreak Area (Morondava and Befandriana lowlands and Belomatra and Vineta plateaux); they were mixed with scattered Red Locust populations.

Response

Implementation of the 3rd anti-locust campaign (September 2015 – June 2016). From the third ten-day period of October, all international experts required for the coordination and implementation of field activities planned for the beginning of this 3rd campaign have arrived in Madagascar, namely: the Campaign Coordinator, the Junior Locust Expert, the Aircraft Logistician, the Expert in spraying techniques and the Environmentalist Expert. The ground anti-locust set-up, deployed since 8 September 2015 and consisting of four teams of which two mixed ground survey/control teams, one responsible for human health and environmental monitoring and one for pesticide management, was reinforced, from 12 November 2015, by one aerial base equipped with one helicopter. Aerial survey operations started on 12 November and aerial control operations started on 17 November 2015.

Initially deployed at Miandrivazo, in the Invasion Area of the Malagasy Migratory Locust, the aerial base was moved to Ihosy as of 30 November in order to carry out surveys in the Horombe plateau and the Zomandao plain (Outbreak Area), identify locust hotspots and localize the areas to be treated. From 7 December 2015, a team responsible for the biopesticide use complemented the control set-up. Since the beginning of this 3rd anti-locust campaign, on 26 August 2015, and until 10 December 2015, locust populations in the form of hopper patches and young adults, have been controlled on an area of 26 256 ha. The procurement and delivery of all equipment and inputs required for ground activities is still ongoing: 10 000 litres of Insect Growth Regulator, 30 single-tents, 241 protective overalls and eight manual pesticide pumps have been received from 20 October to 10 December 2015. On 1 December, at the end of the two-week mission of the Coordinator of the FAO Response to the locust plague, a meeting was organized in order to present to all technical and financial partners, national and international, the progress of this 3rd campaign and discuss the context of the implementation of a preventive control strategy once the locust recession situation will be reached, at the end of the Programme.