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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-to-and 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 time.

Several swarms appeared in the past few days in Amudati district of northeast Uganda. (FAO April 4, 2020)

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Despite the intensive ground and aerial  control operations in Samburu, Marsabit, Isiolo, Turkana and other Counties, fledging and development of several large and dense immature swarms are continuing. Ground teams are using all means of control equipment including vehicle mounted sprayers, while several survey helicopters and spray aircraft are also battling the emerging swarms and  the widely distributed and dense hopper bands. These coordinated efforts are expected to decrease the number of the developing swarms and also reduce their likely migration to southern and western Ethiopia, South Sudan, eastern and northern Uganda during April and in the coming months.

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new swarm1Uganda has been hit by a second wave of Desert Locust swarms which entered the Country from Turkana County of Kenya on 3rd April 2020 via Amudati District in Karamoja Region.

The new swarms are reported to be mixture of mature and immature adults which are cuasing considerable damage to pasture and crops, thus bringing panic and fear among the population. So far, nine affected districts in Karamoja and Teso regions have recorded different swarms movments and migrations. The nine affected districts are Amudati, Kumi, Nakapirpirt, Agago, Nabilatuk, Katakwi, Amuria, Abim and Otuke districts.

The Uganda People Defense Forces (UPDF) which were trained and deployed during the February invasion, are continuing with the ground spraying, using Knapsack sprayers. A DLCO-EA aircraft that  is deployed in a cross- border mission between Kenya and Uganda  will boost the locust control operation aerialy, with hope of calming the Desert Locust invassin in the Country. 

The picture was taken from Moroto sub-county, Nakapirpirit District, Karamoja

 

Source:  Uganda CRB, DLCO-EA 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

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Leaving aside the Desrt Locust developments which have occured between October, 2019 and January, 2020, the current situation in Kenya, southern, easternand southwestern Ethiopia and Somalia still remains alarming to our region.

Eventhough intensive ground and aerial control operations are progressing in may locations in Kenya and Ethiopia on immatureswarms and hopper bands, the first generation of hoppers which hatched in these countriesby mid-to end -of February, 2020 have currently reached maturirity and have started coplulating and laying eggs. Consquently, it is expected that if these emerging second generation of immature swarms will develop and start flying out from the current breeding locations. As a result of seasonal wind directions and the start of the rain season in the north, it is focasted that by June and July, 2020many immature swarms will start migrating to north reaching the highlands and western lowlands of Eritrea and Summer breeding areas of Sudan.

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