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Desert Locust Invasion Update: 14 February 2020
Source FAO: February 2020
• Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Kenya, Sudan, and most recently Uganda and Tanzania, are faced with a desert locust outbreak, with Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya most affected.
• Ethiopia is likely to be hit the hardest by infestation. While giant swarms have been reported in Kenya and smaller ones in Djibouti, Eritrea, Sudan and Somalia, Ethiopia is the only country among them where adolescent or gregarious swarms are expected to descend en masse on cropland.
• Aerial and ground control measures are ongoing but are insufficient to contain the outbreak. An above average rainy season created favorable conditions for locust breeding in Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Red Sea area (Sudan, Eritrea). With the new cropping season coinciding with new hopper bands, the outbreak risks potentially destroying livelihoods and increasing food insecurity in Eastern Africa, which is still recovering from a severe drought and floods.
• More than 10 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Sudan, who are already severely food insecure are located in areas currently affected by the desert locust infestation. A further 3.24 million severely food insecure people in Uganda and South Sudan are also under threat.
• Hundreds of swarms have hatched in the sandy soil of Yemen and Somalia’s coastal plains, where very little Is being done to control them.
• Ethiopia has only three operational planes to spray insecticides and Kenya has five.
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• Lt Col Bright Rwamirama, the Uganda State Minister for Agriculture in charge of Animal Husbandry on 12th February announced that the government is “planning to call a regional meeting over the same so that we deal with the situation in Somalia,”
Lt Col Rwamirama told Parliament that the breeding places in Sudan and Eritrea have been put under control because they are accessible.
• “We’re expecting any day they will move across the border into the southeast corner of South Sudan,” Keith Cressman, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organizations senior locust forecasting officer
U.N. officials warn that immediate action is needed before more rainfall in the weeks ahead brings fresh vegetation to feed new generations of locusts. If left unchecked, their numbers could grow up to 500 times before drier weather arrives, they say.
The U.N. has asked for $76 million in immediate aid. So far just under $20 million is in hand, including $10 million released from the U.N. emergency relief fund and $3.8 million from FAO. The United States said Monday it has released $800,000 and the European Union has released 1 million Euros.