BY RELIEF WEB
The Desert Locust (Schistocerca gregaria) infestation in Ethiopia has deteriorated, despite ongoing ground and aerial control operations. Together with the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the Desert Locust Control Organization for Eastern Africa, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has called for immediate action to control the infestation.
Hoppers have fledged, and an increasing number of small immature and mature swarms have continued to devour crop and pasture fields in Tigray, Amhara, Oromia, and Somali regional states. In Amhara, some farms have registered nearly 100 percent loss of teff, a staple crop in Ethiopia.
Moreover, eggs are hatching profusely and forming hopper bands in the Somali region, due to the heavy rainfall. The hopper bands recorded to date have covered more than 351 kilometer square and are consuming at least 1 755 000 MT of green vegetation per day.
Ms. Fatouma Seid, the FAO Representative in Ethiopia said, “We need to act fast and mobilise the required resources urgently to scale up control and preventive measures. So far, hopper bands have been controlled in only 21 000 hectares, out of the 48 000 hectares surveyed between August and October 2019 in 56 breeding Woredas (districts).
Control measures have become difficult in areas affected by ongoing insecurity, particularly in Dire Dawa city.
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If not controlled, the Desert Locusts could continue moving within Ethiopia and invade northeast Kenya, the western lowlands and highlands of Eritrea, the Red Sea coastal plains in Eritrea, and adjacent southern coastal areas in Sudan.
In November and December 2019, FAO and the Government of Ethiopia will work to scale up control measures for fledgling hoppers, immature adults and newly arrived egg-laying swarms, particularly in the Somali region and other winter breeding areas.
Desert Locust situation update 4 November 2019
Serious situation continues in eastern and central regions
The current situation remains serious and threatening along the Indo-Pakistan border and in the Horn of Africa. An increasing number of swarms formed during October in India and Pakistan where intensive control operations continued for a sixth consecutive month.
It appears that some swarms have started to move west towards southwest Pakistan and southeast Iran where recent rains should allow them to survive until the spring. A few swarms may also reach northeast Oman on winds associated with Cyclone Kyarr in the first days of November.
Ground and aerial operations were in progress in northeast Ethiopia where swarms formed. A few groups moved north towards Eritrea while some swarms moved southeast to northern Somalia and eastern Ethiopia where they laid eggs that began hatching at the end of the month.
There remains a moderate risk that a few swarms could reach northeast Kenya. A few hopper bands and small swarms formed in breeding areas on the Red Sea coast in Yemen and adjacent areas in Saudi Arabia, and control was undertaken.
Breeding will continue along both sides of the Red Sea, which could be supplemented by the arrival of a few small swarms on the Eritrean coast from Ethiopia, causing a further increase in locust numbers.
In the Western Region, small-scale breeding occurred in Mauritania, Niger and southern Algeria, and isolated adults were present in Morocco and Libya. A few groups formed in northern Niger and limited control was carried out there and in Algeria. Locusts are expected to increase slightly in northwest Mauritania due to small-scale breeding.