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Desert Locust Bulletin 498 (4 April 2020)

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Widespread rains to cause a further deterioration in the situation

Widespread rains could allow a dramatic increase in locust numbers in East Africa, eastern Yemen and southern Iran. The current situation in East Africa remains extremely alarming as hopper bands and an increasing number of new swarms are forming in Kenya, southern Ethiopia and Somalia. This represents an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods because it coincides with the beginning of the long rains and the planting season. Although ground and aerial control operations are in progress, widespread rains that fell in late March will allow the new swarms to mostly remain, mature and lay eggs while a few swarms could move from Kenya to Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia. During May, the eggs will hatch into hopper bands that will form new swarms in late June and July, which coincides with the start of the harvest. The situation in Iran and Yemen is becoming increasingly worrisome. Swarms laid eggs along 900 km of coast in southwest Iran that are hatching and hopper bands are forming. The widespread heavy rains that fell in late March will allow another generation of breeding and a further increase in locusts during May, which will extend to Baluchistan, Pakistan. Locusts will also increase and hopper bands will form along the southern coast and in the interior of Yemen from the March rains and subsequent breeding.