Desert locust swarms increase in Yemen and Somaliland
Date: 20 Apr 2009
During the past week, more swarms have been reported in southern Yemen and, to a lesser extent, in Somaliland.
In southern Yemen, there were a dozen reports of small immature swarms that migrated into the interior of Shabwah (Ataq, Nisab, Bayhan) during the second week of April, reaching Marib and Al Abr. Thereafter, some immature and mature swarms were seen moving from west to east to villages in Wadi Hadhramaut (Shebam, Sayun). All of these swarms are thought to have originated from breeding that occurred on the southern coast in March. Unusually good and widespread rains fell in late March and early April throughout the interior desert of Shabwah, Hadhramaut and Mahra provinces from Marib to Shehan on the Oman border. These rains will allow ecological conditions to become favourable for breeding, and locusts will mature rapidly and lay eggs by the end of April. Hatching and band formation are expected to occur from early May onwards.
In Somaliland , ground control operations finished on 12 April against late instar hopper bands on the coast near Silil. The infestations that were not treated have now become adults. A few small swarms formed during the second week and moved from the coast up the escarpment to the east towards Burao and to the southwest towards Ethiopia. Scattered adults were reported in the railway area of Ethiopia while groups of gregarious mature were seen in adjacent areas of Djibouti near Holhol. As good rains fell in late March and early April on the coast, escarpment and plateau, the locusts are expected to mature and lay eggs within a large area between Dire Dawa and Jijiga (Ethiopia) and Silil and Burao (Somaliland).
All efforts are required by the affected countries to monitor the current infestations and undertake the necessary control operations in order to prevent locusts from increasing further and spreading to other countries in the Region.