UN warns of new wave of desert locusts invading Horn of Africa

locusts
locusts
Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • FAO notes that the new swarms will pass through South Sudan to Sudan while other swarms move to Ethiopia.
  • The forecast notes that some swarms may transit Northeast Uganda.
  • Those that have concentrated in Northern Somalia could move east to the Indo-Pakistan summer breeding areas.

Countries in the Horn of Africa have been warned to remain on high alert following the increasing number of fresh desert locust invasions that continue to pose huge threat to food security and livelihoods in the region.

The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) notes that most of the new swarms that have started migrating northwards from Kenya will pass through South Sudan to Sudan while other swarms move to Ethiopia.

The second generation swarms are present in Eastern Ethiopia and some parts of Somalia while hopper bands have been reported in Eastern and Northern Ethiopia and Central and Northern Somalia where breeding continues.

The forecast notes that some swarms may transit Northeast Uganda and that those that have concentrated in Northern Somalia could move east to the Indo-Pakistan summer breeding areas.

GOOD BREEDING CONDITIONS

There is a likelihood of the swarm migrating northwards from Kenya finding good breeding conditions once they arrive in Sudan, which could reduce risk of further migration to West Asia. The threat is increasing in Southwest Asia.

The UN agency has also warned that breeding will continue in interior of Yemen and that it may start in areas of recent rains within the region and Saudi Arabia. Some of the swarms could migrate from Yemen to Northern Somalia and Northeast Ethiopia.

“Sudan, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia, Pakistan and India should remain on high alert in the coming four weeks and West Africa should continue to take anticipatory measures and preparatory steps,” the Fao report states.

INVASION CONTAINED IN 24 COUNTIES

Desert locusts entered Kenya on December 28 through Mandera and had by March spread to 27 counties.

The locusts’ invasion has already been contained in 24 counties, with the focus now on Marsabit and Turkana counties.

Agriculture CS Peter Munya last week announced that the smaller swarms in Isiolo had been contained and they are hopeful that the immature swarms that continue to cause threat to food security in Samburu would be decimated soon.

Turkana has reported about 200 hopper band sites in pastures, with Turkana South being the hardest hit, according to a past Fao report.

Millions of nymphs have emerged in Samburu North and wreaked havoc on farms and grazing fields in Lbarsaloi and Lojorin areas.