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Desert Locust situation update - 22 January 2021

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Swarms appear in NE Ethiopia

In the past few days, there have been new reports from northeast Ethiopia of swarms in Afambo, Asayita and Dubti districts of the Afar region as well as in North and South Wollo zones in eastern Amhara region. The swarms are likely to have arrived from the Sitti zone near Dire Dawa and northwest Somalia. There is a risk that the swarms could continue to move further into Amhara and reach the Tigray region. Elsewhere, immature swarms are present in Oromia and SNPP regions.

In Kenya, several immature swarms continue to arrive from the north, mainly appearing in the northeast and east, from where they are spreading west into northern and central counties. Swarms have now been reported in 11 counties (Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Marsabit, Turkana, Samburu, Laikipia, Isiolo, Meru North, Meru Central, and Tharaka) compared to seven at the beginning of this week. So far, only a few swarms have started to mature. In the southeast, fledging is in progress near Taita Taveta, causing small immature swarms to form while a few late instar hopper bands are present along the coast.

As conditions remain dry in some areas, the swarms are expected to disperse throughout southern and northern Ethiopia and north-central Kenya. Any rainfall that occurs in the coming weeks while cause swarms to mature and lay eggs that will hatch and give rise to hopper bands during February and March.

Intense ground and aerial control operations are in progress in both countries to reduce current swarm populations so that the scale of the upcoming breeding may be lower.