04 Locust Swarm a Biblical Epic

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Thursday, 8 October 2020

The heaviest rains in a century leave six million people affected by flooding this year in East Africa with more than a million homes destroyed and the situation set to worsen in November: Millions more have suffered unprecedented desert locust swarms destroying massive amounts of crops

Floods in Bor Town, Jonglei, South Sudan, August 2020. Photo: UNHCR / Komma Godfrey

Nearly six million people have been affected by flooding this year in East Africa. Data from the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said 1.5 million people have been displaced by the floods. The number of people affected has increased more than five-fold in four years. The number has gone up from 1.1 million in 2016 to nearly six million so far this year.

There are fears that the situation will worsen when the peak of the short rains in November to hit most countries in the region. Parts of the region are recording the heaviest rains in a century. In 2019, a big temperature differential between the east and west sides of the Indian Ocean was blamed for heavy rainfall.
In Sudan, 860,000 people have had their homes destroyed whilst more than 120 have died. In neighbouring South Sudan, 800,000 people have been affected and 368,000 people forced from their homes. “Entire communities have fled to higher ground to escape the rising waters,” the UN said in a statement. In Ethiopia, 1.1 million people have been affected by flooding. Floods have also submerged communities in Djibouti, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda. Africa Feed
To make matters worse millions more have been suffering from unprecedented desert locust swarms which have destroyed massive amounts of crops this year in East Africa.
A Somalian farmer tries in vain to move the locusts from his crops, credit, fao
Swarm breeding in northeast Africa and Yemen
Even though the ground and aerial control operations continue against swarms in the Horn of Africa and Yemen, the situation remains worrisome and could potentially deteriorate during October because of recent breeding. Substantial hatching and hopper band formation has caused numerous immature swarms to form in northeast Ethiopia.
Hopper bands and swarms continue to form in Yemen where some swarms have started to move to the southern and eastern coast of Africa. An increasing number of swarms have been reported in northern Somalia, including cross-border movements between northwest Somalia and eastern Ethiopia.
As prevailing winds coming from the north become established over the Horn of Africa, there will be an increased threat of swarm migration from Yemen, northeast Ethiopia and northern Somalia south to eastern Ethiopia and central Somalia in October that could extend to northern Kenya in November.
Other swarms are present in Eritrea, some of which moved to eastern Sudan where they laid eggs that have hatched and hopper bands are forming. Additional swarms could arrive in Eritrea from Ethiopia in the coming weeks. Winter breeding by swarms started several months earlier than normal along the Red Sea coast, which could allow an extra generation of breeding this season and cause substantial increases in locusts.
Hopper bands have formed on the coast in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, and groups in Eritrea. In southwest Asia, the upsurge ended, and only small residual infestations remained in Pakistan. In West Africa, small-scale breeding is underway in the northern Sahel. Fao

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Titanic swarms of migratory locusts have put 7 million people in the southern region of Africa at risk of famine: The ravenous insects are distinct from the desert locust, which have devastated crops in the Horn of Africa, The Middle East, Arabia, India and Pakistan

Migratory locusts, not to be confused with the larger desert locust. Credit Wikipedia

Authorities in Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe are scrambling to control titanic swarms of migratory locusts, which have put 7 million people in the southern region at risk of famine. The four countries have launched pesticide spraying efforts to combat the invasion, as the United Nations warns that up to 7 million people risk experiencing food insecurity.

Smallholder farmers in Botswana lost their entire harvest at the start of the southern outbreak in May, with the growing region of Pandamatenga and its key sorghum crops at risk. Namibia’s initial outbreak in the Zambezi plain has spread to key farming regions, while locusts in Zambia are spreading rapidly and affecting both crop and grazing lands. The outlook is no better in Zimbabwe, where swarms and hoppers–juvenile insects–have infested two sites in the Chiredzi District, home to a sugar estate, and are now invading the country’s second-most populous province, Manicaland.
The ravenous insects are distinct from the desert locust, which has already flattened farms and devastated crops in the Horn of Africa. While far smaller, the migratory locusts are spreading at a voracious pace. A single swarm can contain millions of locusts and can eat in a day the equivalent of what 2,500 people would consume, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). The UN agency has called for urgent action to prevent a wider problem as farmers struggle to recover from last year’s drought and the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The situation is aggravated by the inaccessibility and ecological sensitivity of some of the affected areas,” the agency said. A new emergency response initiative seeks environmental friendly pesticides, notably for Botswana’s wildlife-rich Okavango Delta, which has become one of the locust’s breeding grounds.”Even with the control measures already taken, the locusts are still a threat,” admitted Patrice Talla, a regional FAO officer. “Some of the worst-affected areas are very difficult to reach.
We need to support the four governments,” he said. The Food and Agriculture Organisation is spending $500,000 (420,000 euros) on aerial surveillance, mapping and other locust suppression strategies. The battle is ongoing for farmers in East Africa, the Middle East and southwest Asia. They have watched with horror as titanic swarms of desert locust have blackened their fields and skies. The upsurge — which has been linked to unusually heavy rains and a tropical cyclone on the Arabian Peninsula — is the worst crisis some regions have seen for 70 years.
The gigantic swarms are unusual for locusts, which usually adopt a solitary lifestyle. Tests on the migratory locust found that young nymphs, known as hoppers, band together when they identify a sweet-smelling pheromone, a chemical which– like the love hormone serotonin– makes you attracted to someone. This chemical attraction has led to the billion-strong outbreaks of adult insects in various parts of the world, foreshadowing plague proportions.

https://www.thebigwobble.org/p/global-uprisisng-2020.html

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

A new locust swarm arrives in Argentina from Paraguay, swarms moving north into Brazil: Meanwhile risk of swarm migration from the Horn of Africa prevails: China is the latest country infected.

Dense hopper band in Sudan. Credit Wikipedia

Detection of a new locust swarm from Paraguay (Translated from Spanish). The second swarm arrives.

There are two swarms that are in our country, (Argentina) one in the province of Entre Ríos and the other in the area of Formosa.

A month ago Argentina and Brazil said they were monitoring the movement of what was then a 15-square-kilometre locust swarm. The three countries are among the world’s biggest soybean exporters.

Buenos Aires – The National Service for Agrifood Health and Quality (Senasa) confirms the detection of a new swarm in Formosa, which came from Paraguay. In the region, there are three locust swarms detected, one in the Central Chaco area of ​​Paraguay, the other two in our country. So far this year, this is the second entry of the plague from the neighbouring country.

The other manga is currently in Entre Ríos, in the Federal Department. The manga that entered Argentina in mid-May through Formosa, crossed Chaco, Santa Fe, Corrientes, and on Sunday reached the province of Entre Ríos as predicted by Senasa. In Corrientes, with low temperatures, and therefore low mobility, the plague was present for a month, during which phytosanitary treatments were carried out together with the Plant Production Directorate that allowed it to decrease its population density.

Currently, it articulates with representatives of producer federations, municipalities and provinces to implement new phytosanitary treatments. On the other hand, the swarm detected in Guadalcazar Formosa, advanced in a southern direction crossing National Route 81 at the height of Laguna Yema – Pozo del Mortero. The north wind allowed it to move quickly and is expected to approach the Río Bermejo today. In this sense, the alert is extended to the Chaco province. In parallel, permanent communication is maintained with the National Service of Plant and Seed Quality and Health (Senave) of Paraguay, in order to have information on the third round that could approach our country in the short term, so that the alert remains for the province of Formosa and is incorporated for Salta.  Senasa

Desert Locust situation update 21 July 2020

China is the latest country to join the ever-growing list of countries being devastated by locust invasions stretching 3 continents including South America, Africa the Middle East, Arabia, Indo Pakistan, Nepal, Myanmar all struggling to control trillions of locusts. TBW

Unprecedented rainfall which started back in early June and is now still raging has caused horrendous floods affecting untold million including many hundred dead along an immense portion of the globe and shows no stopping anytime soon. From West Africa, the Middle East, Arabia, Indo Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, China and Japan have all received Biblical amounts of rainfall. Stranger still all the regions mentioned above, (except Japan) are all being crippled by another Biblical plague, unprecedented numbers of Locust swarms.

Risk of swarm migration from the Horn of Africa prevails.

In Kenya, locust swarms have declined in the northwest, mainly in Marsabit county, but continue to be present in Turkana where aerial and ground control operations are in progress. Most of these swarms are still expected to migrate northwards to Ethiopia and Sudan via South Sudan. There is a risk that a few swarms may cross the border into northeast Uganda. The scale of the migration of remaining swarms from Kenya is likely to be smaller than previously anticipated due to ongoing control operations.

In Ethiopia, ground and aerial control operations continue mainly against immature swarms in the northern Rift Valley and in the Harar Highlands in the east. There are reports of locusts in the south coming from Kenya, and locusts are present in the northern highlands of Amhara and Tigray. Timely reporting has been compromised due to Internet disruptions. More breeding is expected during the summer, which may be supplemented by a few swarms arriving from Yemen.

In Somalia, ground and aerial control operations are underway against immature swarms on the northern plateau between Hargeisa and Garowe. The swarms are moving eastwards across the north and they could continue to migrate across the Indian Ocean to reach the summer breeding areas along both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border.

In Yemen, heavy rains fell in the interior and flooding occurred in Wadi Hadhramaut. Breeding continues throughout the interior as well as in some coastal areas that have given rise to numerous hopper bands and swarms. There is a risk that some of these swarms may appear on the Red Sea coast and breed in areas of recent rainfall. Survey and ground control operations are underway in a few places. No locusts were present in adjacent areas of southwest Saudi Arabia.

In Sudan, low numbers of mature solitarious adults are present in the Nile Valley, near Kassala and in White Nile and North Kordofan states. Control was carried out against local breeding near Atbara. No swarms have been detected from Kenya.

In Oman, control operations are in progress against hopper groups and bands along the southern coast near Salalah while low numbers of solitarious mature adults are present in the adjacent interior. There have been no reports of swarms appearing on the east coast from the Horn of Africa.

In Pakistan, control operations are in progress against hopper groups and bands in the Nagarparkar area of southeast Sindh near the Indian border. Groups of adults are maturing in Tharparkar and Cholistan deserts where laying is expected in areas that have already received monsoon rains. This will cause a further increase in locust numbers as hatching and hopper band formation to occur in the coming weeks.

In India, adult groups and swarms are maturing throughout Rajasthan where laying is underway in many areas. So far, a few hopper groups and bands have formed but substantial hatching is expected in the coming weeks. Control operations are in progress. There have been no recent reports of additional locusts in the northern states as most of the adult groups and swarms have returned to Rajasthan as expected. There remains a risk that a limited number of swarms could migrate from northeast Somalia to the Indo-Pakistan border area during the remainder of this month.

In Iran, a few small residual infestations remain in Khorasan province and control operations are in progress.

In West Africa, low numbers of solitarious adults are present in southeast Mauritania, northern Niger, and parts of western and eastern Chad. While the threat of invasion by swarms is declining, continued vigilance, preparedness, and increased surveillance remain paramount. FAO

2020 Locust Plague

Saturday, 11 July 2020

China is the latest country to join the ever-growing list of countries being devastated by locust invasions stretching 3 continents including: South America, Africa the Middle East, Arabia, Indo Pakistan, Nepal, Myanmar all struggling to control trillions of locusts.

The forestry authority of Pu’er city in Yunnan province of south-western China issued a disaster control warning Thursday after the insects started attacking crops in local farmland. Credit The Daily Mail

China joins the list

If you thought the locust swarms around the world were over because it is not mentioned on MSM anymore, think again. The 2020 locust invasion just keeps on growing. China is the latest country to join the ever-growing list of countries being devastated by locust invasions. Swarms of yellow-spined bamboo locusts have destroyed about 26 square miles of fields in Pu’er after raiding the city from China’s border with Laos, the local government said.

The Pu’er forestry authority yesterday issued an early warning, predicting a potential locust ‘disaster’ in China’s southern border regions after the spread of the pests ‘accelerated’. The authorities identified the insect to be yellow-spined bamboo locust that inhabits in south-eastern Asia. The locust is the main pest of China’s bamboo-producing regions as it devours all the bamboo leaves in its paths while killing off the commercially valuable stalks. Pu’er government said in a notice on Thursday: ‘The invasion of the yellow-spined bamboo locusts from abroad is accelerating. We can detect new clusters invading every day.’ The large infestation of the pests is also possibly spreading to nearby counties and pose a risk of damaging agricultural crops, the officials warned according to a report by TDM

South America becomes the third continent after Africa and Asia to succumb to locust plagues. 

‘Astonishing’ huge swarms of locusts are sweeping through farmland and ruining crops in South America making it the third continent this year to succumb to locust plagues. Short-horned locusts,  capable of devouring the same amount of crops as 2,500 people would each day are thought to have arrived from neighbouring Paraguay recently. The swarms are heading toward the large metropolitan area of Sante Fe. Lanteri community president Pipo Garcia described the swarm as “astonishing” and said he has never seen anything like it. The swarms are expected to move into Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina.

Africa the Middle East, Arabia, Indo Pakistan, Nepal, Myanmar and now China struggling to control trillions of locusts.

Nepal joins the list

Just last week, locust swarms reached Nepal along with massive swarms enveloping much of East African with swarms now charging toward West Africa. Other swarms from Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia are expected to migrate westwards through Sudan, Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Mali and Mauritania as the unprecedented invasions continue to devour everything in their paths. TBW

2020 Locust Plague

Sunday, 5 July 2020

Locust swarm reaches Nepal: East African swarms charging West: Swarms from Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia are expected to migrate westwards through Sudan, Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Mali and Mauritania

Trillions of locusts stretching thousands of miles, credit fao.

Desert Locust situation update.

Spring-bred swarms shifting to summer breeding areas

The unprecedented Desert Locust threat to food security and livelihoods persists in the Horn of Africa and is increasing in southwest Asia. In the Horn of Africa, second-generation spring swarms are present in northwest Kenya, eastern Ethiopia, and parts of Somalia. Breeding continues in eastern and northern Ethiopia and in central and northern Somalia where hopper bands are present.

Most of the swarms in northwest Kenya will migrate northwards and cross South Sudan to Sudan while other swarms will migrate to Ethiopia. A few swarms could transit northeast Uganda. Swarms that concentrate in northern Somalia are likely to move east to the Indo-Pakistan summer breeding areas.

Breeding may commence in areas of recent rains on the Red Sea coast in Yemen and Saudi Arabia while breeding will continue in the interior of Yemen. Some swarms could migrate from Yemen to northern Somalia and northeast Ethiopia in July. While the northward swarm migration from Kenya is imminent, the later it starts, the more likely swarms will find good breeding conditions once they arrive in Sudan and this will reduce the risk of further migration to West Africa.

In southwest Asia, many of the spring-bred swarms migrated to the Indo-Pakistan border before the monsoon rains so some swarms continued east to northern states and a few groups reached Nepal. These swarms will return to Rajasthan with the start of the monsoon in the coming days to join other swarms still arriving from Iran and Pakistan, which is expected to be supplemented by swarms from the Horn of Africa in about mid-July.

Early breeding has already occurred along the Indo-Pakistan border where substantial hatching and band formation will take place in July that will cause the first-generation summer swarms to form in mid-August. Sudan, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia, Pakistan, and India should remain on high alert during the next four weeks. West Africa should continue to take anticipatory measures and preparatory steps. FAO

This month, swarms from Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia are expected to migrate westwards through Sudan, Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Mali and Mauritania on the West coast of Africa.

2020 Locust Plague

Monday, 29 June 2020

Locust situation update: A posh financial and technology hub Gurugram is the latest victim of a massive locust invasion: The city is close to the Indian capital New Delhi with a population of 26 million: Swarms growing around the world.

Credit FAO

India was recently battered by a super typhoon, is currently suffering torrential rain and flooding and heatwaves as well as battling a surge in Covid-19 cases and at least five states are being overrun by massive locust swarms since the beginning of May and showing no signs of slowing down.

New footage shows a massive swarm of locusts invading the Indian city of Gurugram, located just southwest of New Delhi. The cloud of insects is a rare sight in the city – a posh financial and technology hub. The locusts descended upon the streets of Gurugram on Saturday, flying in a large, cloud-like mass and resting upon anything they pleased. The invasion was anticipated, and the local authorities urged residents to close their doors and windows beforehand.

Desert Locust situation update

More swarms form and appear in Ethiopia During the past week, an increased number of immature swarms were reported in eastern Ethiopia between El Kere and Jijiga, most likely arising from local breeding as hopper bands persist in many areas. This may have also been supplemented by some swarms arriving from northern Kenya. Swarms are also present in the northern Rift Valley and an increasing number of hopper bands have been found in the highlands of Amhara and Tigray.

Africa
SOMALIA. Hopper bands and an increasing number of swarms are present in the northwest between Boroma and Hargeisa and in central areas near Galkayo.

KENYA. More swarms continued to form and were seen flying in the northwest. Although control operations continue, a general northerly movement of swarms will occur in the three countries. Some of the swarms in northwest Kenya are expected to transit through South Sudan to reach the summer breeding areas of Sudan where some rains have already fallen. If these rains are not enough, there is a risk that swarms could continue to eastern Chad and spread westwards across the northern Sahel of West Africa. Swarms that accumulate in northern Somalia are likely to migrate across the Indian Ocean to the summer breeding areas along the Indo-Pakistan border.

Arabia
YEMEN. More immature and mature swarms were reported during this past week in the interior between Marib and Hadhramaut. As control operations are not possible, farmers were resorting to digging trenches to bury locusts. Some swarms are likely to reinvade northern Somalia and northeast Ethiopia.

SAUDI ARABIA. A few immature swarms have been seen in the southwest and hopper bands are present near Najran. Control operations are underway. In Southwest Asia, spring-bred swarms are present along both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border where they are awaiting the onset of the monsoon rains that will start in the coming days and allow the swarms to mature and lay eggs. Control operations continue.

Asia
PAKISTAN. Some swarms have already started laying eggs in Nagaparkar of southeast Sindh near the Indian border while swarms are present in the Indus Valley and are starting to form from hopper bands in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

INDIA. Swarms and adult groups are mainly present in Rajasthan west of Jaipur but some infestations continue to be reported in parts of Madhya Pradesh and Utter Pradesh. At least one small group of immature adults moved north in Utter Pradesh on the 27th during strong winds, reaching northern districts of Kushinagar and Sidharth Nagar where they split up and a few crossed the border to the central lowlands of Nepal near Butwal. These are likely to disperse without causing much harm.

Middle East
IRAN. Locust infestations declined further in the south. Only adult groups remain along the Pakistan border in the interior of Sistan-Baluchistan and hopper groups are present in South Khorasan. Control operations continue. Sudan, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia, Pakistan, and India should remain on high alert during the next four weeks. West Africa should continue to take anticipatory measures and preparatory steps. FAO

South America
‘Astonishing’ huge swarm of locusts are sweeping through farmland and ruining crops in South America making it the third continent this year to succumb to locust plagues. Short-horned locusts,  capable of devouring the same amount of crops as 2,500 people would each day are thought to have arrived from neighbouring Paraguay recently.

Argentine food safety body SENASA said swarms, which initially entered Argentina from Paraguay in late May, contained about 40 million insects. It is in the province of Corrientes, near borders with Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. Argentina and Brazil are among the world’s largest soy and corn exporters. “We are following the movement of the plague,” Héctor Medina, a coordinator at SENASA, told Reuters on Thursday. Due to the arrival of a cold-weather front from the south, the movement of the locusts would be limited in the coming days, he added. The low temperatures “will prevent them from moving and reproducing. The lethargy makes them stay still,” Medina said. Winds could eventually push the cloud of locusts into a neighbouring country, he added.

2020 Locust Plague

Friday, 26 June 2020

Marching on together! South America becomes the third continent after Africa and Asia to succumb to locust plagues. The governments of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil on alert as locusts are sweeping through farmland and ruining crops

Brazilian news source

Marching on together! South America becomes the third continent after Africa and Asia to succumb to locust plagues. 

‘Astonishing’ huge swarm of locusts are sweeping through farmland and ruining crops in South America making it the third continent this year to succumb to locust plagues. Short-horned locusts,  capable of devouring the same amount of crops as 2,500 people would each day are thought to have arrived from neighbouring Paraguay recently. The swarms are heading toward the large metropolitan area of Sante Fe. Lanteri community president Pipo Garcia described the swarm as “astonishing” and said he has never seen anything like it. The swarms are expected to move into Brazil. A video of a swarm can be seen here

Argentine food safety body SENASA said the swarm, which initially entered Argentina from Paraguay in late May, contained about 40 million insects. It is in the province of Corrientes, near borders with Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. Argentina and Brazil are among the world’s largest soy and corn exporters. “We are following the movement of the plague,” Héctor Medina, a coordinator at SENASA, told Reuters on Thursday. Due to the arrival of a cold-weather front from the south, the movement of the locusts would be limited in the coming days, he added. The low temperatures “will prevent them from moving and reproducing. The lethargy makes them stay still,” Medina said. Winds could eventually push the cloud of locusts into a neighbouring country, he added.

450 billion locusts have been killed this year, but devastating swarms still ravage Africa, India and the Middle East. TBW

2020 Locust Plague

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

As the riots in the US grab the world headlines Northern India is battling a massive locust invasion, a heatwave touching 50 deg C (122 deg F) a Severe Cyclonic Storm and Covid-19

Credit, AP

As the riots in the US grab the headlines this week, the unprecedented invasion by desert locusts has increased and hit large swathes of India and Pakistan who are in the middle in the middle of their battle with coronavirus pandemic. According to the FAO, large and aggressive swarms of these crop-devouring short-horned insects have invaded more than two dozen districts covering more than 50,000 hectares of desert areas of western India. Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat are the worst affected states. To make matters worse parts of India saw temperatures rise to 47.6C on Tuesday, as most of north India faced severe heatwave conditions. The heatwave, which officials say is likely to last until the weekend, comes even as the region struggles with rising Covid-19 infections and swarms of locusts that are ravaging crops. Churu in Rajasthan state recorded a temperature of 50 deg C (122 deg F), India’s highest. To make matters worse, a powerful cyclonic storm in the Arabian Sea “is very likely to intensify into a Severe Cyclonic Storm during next 6 hours,” the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Wednesday. The cyclone, designated Nisarga, could make landfall between on the coastal border region of Maharashtra and Gujarat states, with winds gusting up to 120 km per hour (75 miles per hour), the equivalent of a category 1 hurricane, the IMD said.

In neighbouring Pakistan, authorities declared a nationwide emergency in February, saying locust numbers were the worst in more than two decades. Local reports say that farmers are fighting the “worst locust plague in nearly three decades” and the swarms were decimating crops and sending prices of food soaring. Some 38% of Pakistan’s area spread over the provinces of Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab are “breeding grounds” for locusts, according to a report by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. “The situation is much more serious this year not only in Afghanistan, India, Iran and Pakistan but in all the frontline countries in Africa, and the Arabian peninsula,” Muhammad Tariq Khan, director of Pakistan’s Department of Plant Protection, claimed.

Below is an update of the locust swarms affecting some of the poorest countries in the world.

In the past few days, there have been movements of adult groups and swarms in India, Oman, UAE, and Uganda.

SOUTH-WEST ASIA Swarms are forming in the spring breeding areas and migrating east to the Indo-Pakistan border ahead of the monsoon rains.

India. Spring-bred immature adult groups and swarms that arrived in Rajasthan from the west continued to move east in the eastern portion of the state and to the central states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. As of 26 May, at least one swarm had reached to the northeast of Bhopal. Much of these movements were associated with strong westerly winds from Cyclone Amphan in the Bay of Bengal. Control operations are underway. Several successive waves of invasions can be expected until July in Rajasthan with eastward surges across northern India as far as Bihar and Orissa followed by westward movements and a return to Rajasthan on the changing winds associated with the monsoon. These movements will cease as swarms begin to breed and become less mobile. Swarms are less likely to reach south India, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

Pakistan. Adults are forming groups and small swarms in spring breeding areas in the southwest (Baluchistan) and the Indus Valley (Punjab). These infestations will move to the summer breeding areas along the Indo-Pakistan from the Cholistan to Tharparkar. Control operations are underway in all areas. • Iran. Adults are forming groups and small swarms in spring breeding areas along the southern coast and parts of Sistan-Baluchistan as vegetation is drying out. These infestations will move east to the Indo-Pakistan summer breeding areas. Control operations are underway.

ARABIAN PENINSULA Important breeding continues in Yemen in the absence of survey and control operations.

Yemen. Breeding is continuing in areas of recent rains in the interior where hopper bands and mature swarms have formed.

Oman. Several immature adult groups moved from the northern interior near the UAE border to the north coast where they are expected to move along the coast to Ras Al Hadd before crossing to southeast Pakistan. Other groups moved from the interior breeding areas to Dubai. Control operations are underway.

Saudi Arabia. Control operations were carried out against immature adult groups in the northern interior near Hail and Gassim, and against mature adult groups further south near Wadi Dawasir and Najran.

EAST AFRICA The current situation remains extremely alarming in East Africa where Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia continue to face an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods. New swarms from current breeding will form from mid-June onwards, coinciding with the start of the harvest. Thereafter, there is a risk that swarms will migrate to the summer breeding areas along both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border as well as to Sudan and perhaps West Africa.

Kenya. Ground and aerial control operations continue against hopper bands in the northwest (Turkana, Marsabit). A few late-maturing swarms were seen south of Lodwar and new infestations were found along the Tana River where hopper bands are present.

Ethiopia. A few immature and mature swarms remain in the south. Breeding has increased in the Ogaden and hopper bands have present. Breeding continues near Dire Dawa where hopper bands persist, and adults have formed groups and swarms. Breeding also occurred in Afar and on the eastern edge of the highlands, causing hopper bands to form. Ground and aerial control operations continue.

Somalia. Breeding is underway in central areas (Galkayo and Galmudug) where scattered adults and hopper groups are present. Breeding is also underway in the northwest where hopper bands and groups of immature and mature adults are present on the plateau (east of Burao to the west of Boroma) and the coast near Bulhar. Hopper groups are also present in the northeast near Garowe. Control operations are underway.

Uganda. On the 26 May, at least one swarm was seen in the northeast district of Kaaborg that was probably moving towards South Sudan.

Sudan. Scattered gregarious adults are present near the South Sudan border at a few places in the Blue Nile, White Nile, and South Kordofan states. A few adults persist in the Nile Valley north of Kordofan.

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Floods and landslides in Kenya have killed nearly 200 people and displaced 100,000 as torrential “long rains” from Kenya to Pakistan continue to fuel one of the biggest locust plague the world has ever seen

Floods in Busia County, Kenya in May 2020. Photo: Government of Kenya

Floods and landslides in Kenya have killed nearly 200 people, displaced 100,000 and strained critical infrastructure, with unprecedentedly high water levels at two dams forcing the evacuation of villagers at risk, officials said on Wednesday. The heavy rain, which accelerated in mid-April, is expected to continue in already hard-hit areas in the coming weeks, the Kenya Meteorological Department said in its most recent forecast. May usually marks the end of the rainy season.

In Budalangi, western Kenya, residents have had to carry their belongings away from their submerged houses using boats and motorbikes, after the River Nzoia burst its banks, spilling over the land for miles around. Government spokesman Cyrus Oguna said on Twitter that over the past three weeks, floods had displaced 100,000 people — complicating efforts to protect against the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed 24 people in the country. The government is providing food and water to the displaced people and has also requested the Health Ministry to provide them with masks as a precautionary measure. The floods and landslides have been concentrated in western Kenya and have so far killed 194 people, Eugene Wamalwa, the minister in charge of relations between the regional leadership and the national government, said. “Yesterday alone, we have lost 30 people in a matter of 24 hours,” Wamalwa said. Reuters

April has seen torrential rain from East Africa to Pakistan which is feeding the biggest locust plague the world has ever seen while Covid-19 is silently expanding in the poorest countries of the world. Map FAO

First came the floods. The waters swamped crop fields and created a breeding ground for swarms of desert locusts stretching from East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and Southwest Asia.

A three-pronged attack is overwhelming the worlds most vulnerable countries affecting hundreds of millions of the most food-insecure people on the planet. April has seen torrential rain from East Africa to Pakistan which is feeding the biggest locust plague the world has ever seen while Covid-19 is silently expanding in the poorest countries of the world.

In countries whose medical systems are under-resourced, the health crisis could be compounded by a hunger crisis and lost livelihoods, according to the FAO.

Deadly flash flooding has struck in eastern Ethiopia killing at least 4 people, with flooding also reported in southern areas. Flash flooding has affected parts of neighbouring Somalia over the last few days. Authorities warn of a high risk of flooding along the Shabelle and Juba rivers in the coming days.

Heavy rain has affected wide areas of Somalia since 20 April, causing rivers to rise and flash flooding. According to reports from the United Nations, tens of thousands of people have been affected or displaced. On 27 April, massive flash flooding swept through the city of Qardho (also known as Gardo) in the northeastern Bari region, part of the autonomous Puntland state. At least 6 people have died and several others are thought to be missing. Hundreds of families have reportedly lost their homes.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that 18 provinces in Iran are currently experiencing floods, with 7 fatalities and 2,534 people rescued and over 300 displaced between 10 and 14 April. Further heavy rain is expected.

Humanitarian agencies and local government report that flooding has affected thousands of people in Ma’rib Governorate, Yemen, including in areas of the capital, Marib City, and several camps for Internally displaced people (IDPs). Flooding struck after a storm brought heavy rain on 15 April. Capital of the country, Sana’a was also recently badly affected by flooding.

More heavy rain in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province has had devastating consequences, with at least 5 fatalities reported between 14 and 15 April 2020. Ongoing heavy rain has affected the province since early March, with dozens of fatalities reported, mostly as a result of collapsing buildings.

Meanwhile, heavy rain has also affected parts of neighbouring Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) reported flooding in Kapisa Province, where crops and 183 homes were damaged.

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Torrential “long rains” from Kenya to Pakistan continue to fuel the biggest locust plague the world has ever seen as Covid-19 is about to hit hundreds of millions of the most food-insecure people on the planet

April has seen torrential rain from East Africa to Pakistan which is feeding the biggest locust plague the world has ever seen while Covid-19 is silently expanding in the poorest countries of the world. Map FAO

First came the floods. The waters swamped crop fields and created a breeding ground for swarms of desert locusts stretching from East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and Southwest Asia.

A three-pronged attack is overwhelming the worlds most vulnerable countries affecting hundreds of millions of the most food-insecure people on the planet. April has seen torrential rain from East Africa to Pakistan which is feeding the biggest locust plague the world has ever seen while Covid-19 is silently expanding in the poorest countries of the world.

In countries whose medical systems are under-resourced, the health crisis could be compounded by a hunger crisis and lost livelihoods, according to the FAO.

The ongoing “long rains” in Kenya continue to cause flooding in western and eastern counties. Kenya Red Cross says as many as 30,0000 people have been displaced since March. Meanwhile, President Uhuru Kenyatta confirmed on 26 April that 29 people died in the massive mudslides and flooding in the border areas of Elgeyo Marakwet and West Pokot counties. The rains are helping the second generation of breeding which is about to start in Kenya, Spring breeding will cause a further increase in locust infestations in East Africa, eastern Yemen and southern Iran in the coming months.

Deadly flash flooding has struck in eastern Ethiopia killing at least 4 people, with flooding also reported in southern areas. Flash flooding has affected parts of neighbouring Somalia over the last few days. Authorities warn of a high risk of flooding along the Shabelle and Juba rivers in the coming days.

Heavy rain has affected wide areas of Somalia since 20 April, causing rivers to rise and flash flooding. According to reports from the United Nations, tens of thousands of people have been affected or displaced. On 27 April, massive flash flooding swept through the city of Qardho (also known as Gardo) in the northeastern Bari region, part of the autonomous Puntland state. At least 6 people have died and several others are thought to be missing. Hundreds of families have reportedly lost their homes.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that 18 provinces in Iran are currently experiencing floods, with 7 fatalities and 2,534 people rescued and over 300 displaced between 10 and 14 April. Further heavy rain is expected.

Humanitarian agencies and local government report that flooding has affected thousands of people in Ma’rib Governorate, Yemen, including in areas of the capital, Marib City, and several camps for Internally displaced people (IDPs). Flooding struck after a storm brought heavy rain on 15 April. Capital of the country, Sana’a was also recently badly affected by flooding.

More heavy rain in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province has had devastating consequences, with at least 5 fatalities reported between 14 and 15 April 2020. Ongoing heavy rain has affected the province since early March, with dozens of fatalities reported, mostly as a result of collapsing buildings.

Meanwhile, heavy rain has also affected parts of neighbouring Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) reported flooding in Kapisa Province, where crops and 183 homes were damaged. Floodlist.com

Desert Locust situation update 28 April 2020

EAST AFRICA The current situation in East Africa remains extremely alarming as more swarms form and mature in northern and central Kenya, southern Ethiopia. This represents an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods because it coincides with the early beginning of the long rains and the current growing season. A new generation of breeding is underway in Kenya where more eggs will hatch and form hopper bands during May, followed by new swarms in late June and July, which coincides with the start of the harvest.

KENYA. More swarms mature in central and northern areas with a few laying eggs and hatching starts. Control continues.

ETHIOPIA. Immature swarms in the south (SNNPR, Oromia), mature swarms in N Oromia and N Somali regions; mid-instar hopper bands in the east (Dire Dawa – Ayasha). Control continues.

SOMALIA. Early instar hopper bands on the Ethiopian border in the northwest (Somaliland); scattered adults along the Ethiopian border in central areas (Galguduud).

NE AFRICA & ARABIAN PENINSULA Breeding continues in several countries where hopper bands are forming that could lead to new swarms.

YEMEN. Increasing reports of mature swarms copulating in the interior where floods occurred this week. ● SAUDI ARABIA. Control continues against mid-instar hopper bands near the Persian Gulf (Nairyah to Al Hofuf) and in the interior (Hail).

● IRAQ. Limited control continues against early mid-instar hopper groups in southern provinces (Kerbala and Thikar in addition to Al Muthanna, Al Diwaniya, Al Najaf).

UAE. Limited control against hopper bands on Oman border south of Al-Ayn.

SUDAN. The calm situation, only a few scattered adults on coast and interior.

SOUTHWEST ASIA Breeding continues in the spring breeding areas where the situation remains worrying in Iran.

IRAN. More hopper groups and bands continue along the southern coast; mature adult groups moved north in Sistan & Baluchistan to South Khorasan and lay eggs. Control continues.

PAKISTAN. Hopper and adult groups in Baluchistan; hopper groups and bands in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; hoppers near the Indian border. Control continues.

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

As famines of ‘biblical proportion’ loom: 260 million are facing starvation and that is NOT including people who face starvation due to Covid-19: Locust swarms are increasing across Africa, Arabia, Southwest Asia and Pakistan

FAO/IFAD/WFP/Michael Tewelde. In 2019, Ethiopia experienced the fifth-worst food crisis of all the countries on earth.

As the coronavirus death toll approaches 200,000 and more than 2.5 million confirmed cases, understandably the world is looking away from a global humanitarian catastrophe of Biblical proportion happening elsewhere. A deepening crisis is exploding in many parts of the world as more frequent natural disasters and changing weather patterns along with poverty and conflict. According to a new report from the World Food Programme (WFP) the world is facing a perfect storm. 135 million people are facing crisis levels of hunger or worse, coupled with an additional 130 million on the edge of starvation prompted by Coronavirus.

To make matters worse farms and food production businesses are struggling to stay afloat due to Covid-19. Crops and animals are being destroyed due to virus restrictions. With an extra billion mouths to feed the vision of the rest of 2020 is a very frightening picture, however, the problem did not begin this year, the problem escalated last year.

Back in 2019, a crisis emerged across three continents as extreme weather conditions and disease began to bite the farming industry leaving world banks warning the 2020s would be a decade of dramatic economic and social upheaval as another billion mouths will need to be fed. This statement, of course, was made well before the coronavirus had jumped from animal to human, (or from lab to human.)
In 2019, Europe was losing 1000 small farms a day, due to a crop decline, leading to price rises. Officials were using the word ‘disaster’ to describe the widespread crop failures happening all over America and in Asia pork prices had doubled after more than a quarter of the entire global pig population had been slaughtered due to an outbreak, (also in China) of African swine fever.
Another big factor, destroying crops in 2019 was the weather. In many parts of Europe, Ireland and the UK it began to rain at the end of September 2019 and didn’t stop until the end of January 2020. It was even worse for the U.S., who witnessed “unprecedented” crop failures all across the country. The endless rain and horrific flooding during the early months of 2019 resulted in tremendous delays in getting crops planted in many areas, and then snow and bitterly cold temperatures turned the harvest season into a complete and utter nightmare all over the country, resulting in their worst agricultural year in history.
After unprecedented droughts, record-busting temperatures and mega-size bushfires, 2019/2020 has been a disaster for Australian farmers, tens of thousands of cattle lost and even more farming acres, as their worst summer in history brought a 60% loss in productivity.
On January the 11th, 2019, the holiest site in Islam was swarmed by a plague of locusts, forcing cleaners into action to drive the insects out. The Great Mosque in Mecca, which hosts millions of Muslim pilgrims every year and is the holiest site in Islam was the birthplace of a plague which in just over 12 months would grow into billions, stretching from the western border of China sweeping through Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, through Arabia the Middle East, northern Africa and all the way down to Southern Africa. TBWThe numbers and size of the plagues are unfathomable, we are talking billions of the most ravenous beast known to man, just a small swarm can eat enough food to feed a city of 35,000 people. These swarms are currently invading the poorest and most food-insecure people on the planet and the swarms are expected to increase 5 fold by June.

Desert Locust situation update 21 April 2020

Swarms continue to mature in East Africa Spring breeding will cause a further increase in locust infestations in East Africa, eastern Yemen and southern Iran in the coming months.

EAST AFRICA The current situation in East Africa remains extremely alarming as more swarms form and mature in northern and central Kenya, southern Ethiopia and probably in 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 stay in place, mature and lay eggs while a few swarms could move from Kenya to Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia. 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.

KENYA. More swarms mature in central and northern areas with egg-laying imminent. Control continues.

ETHIOPIA. Swarms mature in the south (SNNPR, Oromia) and disperse northwards in Oromia and Somali region; hopper bands in the east near Dire Dawa. Control continues.

UGANDA. A maturing swarm was reported on 17 April in Katakwi district of the northeast.

ARABIAN PENINSULA Breeding continues in several countries, causing hopper bands to form that could lead to swarms.

YEMEN. Heavy rains and floods fell in the interior (Marib, Bayhan) this past week, including Aden today; swarm in Wadi Hadhramaut.

SAUDI ARABIA. Control continues against mid-instar hopper bands near the Persian Gulf and new hopper bands in the interior (Hail and Al-Badie Al-Shamali).

IRAQ. Limited control in progress against early instar hopper groups in the southern provinces of Al Muthanna, Al Diwaniya, Al Najaf.

OMAN. Late instar hopper groups, bands and a few small swarms seen laying eggs near UAE. Swarm on the Yemen border today. Control continues.

UAE. Limited control against hopper bands and adult groups near Al Ayn and Oman.

SOUTHWEST ASIA Breeding continues in the spring breeding areas where the situation is worrisome in Iran.

IRAN. More hopper bands form along the southwest coast; swarm laying near Jask and adult groups lay in Sistan & Baluchistan. Control continues.

PAKISTAN. Hopper and adult groups in Baluchistan; hopper groups and bands in the Indus Valley and Punjab; limited breeding near the Indian border. Control continues.

Friday, 17 April 2020

While the eyes of the world are on Covid-19, East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Southwest Asia and Pakistan continues to struggle with another crisis of biblical proportions: Growing mega-swarms of ravenous locusts.

With climate change causing more extreme weather patterns, locust outbreaks are an increasing concern. ©FAO/Sven Torfinn

While the eyes of the world are on the novel coronavirus, East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Southwest Asia and Pakistan continues to struggle with another crisis of biblical proportions: growing swarms of ravenous locusts. Both crises are extraordinary in scale, and both foes multiply so quickly that governments are struggling to contain them. Torrential rain is causing a dramatic increase in locust numbers in East Africa, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Yemen.

On January the 11th, 2019, the holiest site in Islam was swarmed by a plague of locusts, forcing cleaners into action to drive the insects out. The Great Mosque in Mecca, which hosts millions of Muslim pilgrims every year and is the holiest site in Islam was the birthplace of a plague which in just over 12 months would grow into billions, stretching from the western border of China sweeping through Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, through Arabia the Middle East, northern Africa and all the way down to Southern Africa. TBWThe numbers and size of the plagues are unfathomable, we are talking billions of the most ravenous beast known to man, just a small swarm can eat enough food to feed a city of 35,000 people. These swarms are currently invading the poorest and most food-insecure people on the planet and the swarms are expected to increase 5 fold by June.

Swarms have matured in East Africa after widespread rains that fell in late March are expected to cause a dramatic increase in locust numbers in the coming months.

EAST AFRICA The current situation in East Africa remains extremely alarming as more swarms form and mature in northern and central Kenya, southern Ethiopia and probably in 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 and early April will allow the new swarms to mostly stay in place, mature and lay eggs while a few swarms could move from Kenya to Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia. 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.

KENYA. More swarms are maturing and increasing in size in central and northern areas with some moving westwards; egg-laying is imminent.

ETHIOPIA. Hopper bands and an increasing number of swarms are maturing in the south (SNNPR, Oromia); new swarms appeared in northern and southern Somali region.

SOUTH SUDAN. A maturing swarm arrived in Magwi County on 8 April from Uganda.

ARABIAN PENINSULA The situation in Yemen continues and is likely to be deteriorating but no new information has been received and torrential rainfall is favouring the swarms.

SAUDI ARABIA. Control continues against early and mid-instar bands near the Persian Gulf.

OMAN. Late instar hopper groups, bands and a few small swarms seen laying eggs near UAE; control underway.

SOUTHWEST ASIA Spring breeding is underway. The situation in Iran continues to be serious and worrisome.

● IRAN. An increasing number of hopper bands continue to form along with the southern coast; a few swarms near Jask.

PAKISTAN. Control continues against hopper groups in Baluchistan, Punjab, and near the Indian border; more adult groups forming in Baluchistan. Fao

Timeline

Map FAO, how 4 cyclones delivered another global crisis of biblical proportions.

2018

● Cyclones in May and October brought heavy rains that gave rise to favourable breeding conditions in the Empty Quarter of the southern Arabian Peninsula for at least nine months since June 2018.

● As a result, three generations of breeding occurred that was undetected and not controlled.

2019

JANUARY: The first swarms hit Yemen and Saudi Arabia, reaching southwest Iran where heavy rains fell, helping the swarms to breed.

FEBRUARY-JUNE: widespread spring breeding in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Iran caused large numbers of swarms to form. Control operations were less successful in Iran and Yemen.

JUNE-DECEMBER: swarms invade the Indo-Pakistan border from Iran and up to three generations occur due to longer than normal monsoon, giving rise to large numbers of swarms; In Yemen, swarms form and move to N Somalia and Ethiopia where breeding occurs and more swarms form.

OCTOBER-DECEMBER: Swarms move from Ethiopia and N Somalia to Eritrea, Djibouti, E Ethiopia, the Ogaden, C and S Somalia to reach NE Kenya; hopper bands and swarms form along with parts of the Red Sea coastal plains in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Eritrea and Sudan.

2020

JANUARY: Swarms continue to invade, spread, mature and lay eggs in Ethiopia and Kenya. Hatching occurs in NE Somalia. Other swarms move into the interior of Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

FEBRUARY: Swarms continue in Kenya, a few reach Uganda and South Sudan, groups reach Tanzania. Widespread hatching and bands in Kenya. Other swarms reach both sides of the Persian Gulf.

MARCH: widespread hatching causes a new generation of swarms to form in Ethiopia and Kenya. A few swarms invade Uganda and South Sudan. Widespread swarm laying and hatching in southern Iran.

Friday, 10 April 2020

Desert Locust upsurge in East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and Southwest Asia after widespread rains leading to a dramatic increase in locust numbers: Millions suffer acute food insecurity

Credit FOA
Desert Locust situation update… 

Swarm increase expected in East Africa Widespread rains that fell in late March could allow a dramatic increase in locust numbers in East Africa, eastern Yemen and southern Iran in the coming months.

EAST AFRICA The current situation in East Africa remains extremely alarming as hopper bands and an increasing number of new swarms form in northern and central 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 Kenya to Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia. 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.

KENYA. Swarms appear to be increasing in size in some central and northern areas with some moving westwards.

● ETHIOPIA. A large swarm was reported in the south (SNNPR) today, April the 8th).

UGANDA. Several immature and maturing swarms appeared in the northeast (Katakwi, Amuria, Agago districts) on 5-7 April. The military carried out control operations. Additional swarms may appear in these areas from Kenya and move towards the northwest.

ARABIAN PENINSULA Spring breeding is underway. The situation in Yemen continues to deteriorate.

YEMEN. An immature swarm was seen on the coast at the Oman border and another one north of Aden, and adults are laying on the eastern plateau.

SAUDI ARABIA. More hatching and early instar bands form near the Persian Gulf where control operations continue.

OMAN. Control underway against hopper and adult groups in the north. A few immature adult groups were seen in the south.

SOUTHWEST ASIA Spring breeding is underway. The situation in Iran is becoming increasingly worrisome.

● IRAN. An increasing number of hopper bands are forming along the southern coast from earlier swarm laying.

PAKISTAN. Control underway against hopper groups in Baluchistan, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. FOA

Map FAO

9 April 2020, Rome – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN is continuing its efforts to contain the Desert Locust upsurge in East Africa despite restrictions on the movement of personnel and equipment resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Desert Locust upsurge continues to remain alarming, particularly in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, where it poses an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods. In the six East African countries worst affected or at risk of locusts – Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania – around 20 million people are already experiencing acute food insecurity, and a further 15 million in Yemen, which is also being affected by the pest.

Widespread rainfall in March is expected to produce a dramatic increase in locust numbers in East Africa over the coming months, with new swarms expected to move from Kenya into South Sudan and Uganda. The situation is also worrying in the Islamic Republic of Iran and Yemen where a new generation of locusts is emerging. Restrictions on the movement of personnel and equipment imposed by COVID-19 have created challenges but FAO is continuing to work with national governments, farmers and agricultural producers to contain the outbreak. “There is no significant slowdown because all the affected countries working with FAO consider Desert Locusts a national priority,” said Cyril Ferrand, FAO’s Resilience Team Leader for East Africa. “While lockdown is becoming a reality, people engaged in the fight against the upsurge are still allowed to conduct surveillance, and air and ground control operations.” FAO is augmenting national efforts by providing support for surveillance as well as aerial and ground spraying being conducted in 10 affected countries.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Signs and Wonders: It is the same locust God used against the Egyptians in the epic Bible Book of Exodus and the biggest swarm in 30 years which is about to attack the Middle East for Passover but will miss the ‘Holy Land’


Map FOAIt is the same locust God used against the Egyptians in the epic Bible Book of Exodus. The Desert Locust (Schistocerca gregaria),  and they are the most destructive migratory pest in the world. The massive Plague of locusts is set to descend upon the Middle East in time for Passover, however, the swarms are expecting to miss the Holy Land. (Where have we heard this before?)On January the 11th, 2019, the holiest site in Islam was swarmed by a small plague of locusts, forcing cleaners into action to drive the insects out. The Great Mosque in Mecca, which hosts millions of Muslim pilgrims every year and is the holiest site in Islam was the birthplace of a plague which in just over 12 months would grow into billions, stretching from the western border of China sweeping through Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, through Arabia the Middle East, northern Africa and all the way down to Southern Africa.Full StoryThe Plague of locusts is set to descend upon the Middle East in time for Passover but will skip the Holy Land. A plague of locusts the likes of which have been unseen for over 30 years is about to hit Africa and the Middle East. Adding to the perfect biblical storm, the current coronavirus pandemic is affecting the travel of international experts and in-country gatherings for training to combat the locust threat, said Rome-based Senior Locust Forecasting Officer Keith Cressman on Monday. Cressman works at Locust Watch, a division of the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, which gives emergency assistance to countries facing desert locust invasions and constantly monitors the status of potential infestations. According to the organization’s most recent forecast report, there are new “extremely alarming” swarms forming in the Horn of Africa. The Desert Locust (Schistocerca gregaria) “is the most destructive migratory pest in the world,” according to the Locust Watch website. As depicted in the Book of Exodus, when the highly mobile swarms of Desert Locust form, “they are ravenous eaters who consume their own weight per day, targeting food crops and forage.” While one locust may not seem a major fresser (eater, Yiddish), the swarms can grow to millions of individuals, “with the capacity to consume the same amount of food in one day as 35,000 people.” TTOIUpdate…
New swarms continue forming in the Horn of Africa The situation remains extremely alarming in the Horn of Africa, specifically Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia where widespread breeding is in progress and new swarms are starting to form, representing an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods at the beginning of the upcoming cropping season.KENYA. Hopper bands continue to develop and form an increasing number of first-generation immature swarms in northern and central counties. Further concentration expected in Marsabit and Turkana. Aerial and ground control operations continue.ETHIOPIA. No new information received. Hopper bands continue to form within a widespread area of Oromiya and SNNPR regions, including the Rift Valley. A new generation of immature swarms is likely to have started forming in some areas. Aerial and ground control operations continue.YEMEN. Hopper bands forming on the southern coast near Aden where control was carried out. The situation is not well known in other areas where breeding is likely underway.IRAN. Swarms and adult groups continue laying eggs in the southwest (southern Khuzestan, Busherh, southern Fars, western Hormozgan provinces). Hatching and band formation imminent. Local breeding continues in the southeast where hoppers are forming groups and bands in eastern Hormozgan. Control operations are in progress.SUDAN. Two immature swarms appeared on the southern coast of Red Sea on the 14th. Scattered adults along with parts of the coast.ERITREA. Conditions drying out on the central and northern coast. Control operations continue against groups of late instar hoppers and immature adults on the Buri Peninsula and in the Dahlak Islands.EGYPT. Late instar hopper groups treated at one place on the Red Sea coast in the southeast.

SAUDI ARABIA. Control operations against one mature swarm and groups of laying adult near the Persian Gulf between Al Hofuf and Kuwait and a few mature groups in the northern interior south of Al Jawf.

OMAN. Hatching on the north coast and control operations against early instar hopper groups, and continue against late instar hopper groups on the east coast.

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS of locusts are swarming through parts of East Africa and South Asia as a new generation of immature groups are forming from KENYA all the way to PAKISTAN:

Hundreds of billions of locusts are swarming through parts of East Africa and South Asia in the worst infestation for a quarter of a century, threatening crops and livelihoods. Credit Reuters.

On January the 11th, 2019, the holiest site in Islam was swarmed by a plague of locusts, forcing cleaners into action to drive the insects out. The Great Mosque in Mecca, which hosts millions of Muslim pilgrims every year and is the holiest site in Islam was the birthplace of a plague which in just over 12 months would grow into billions, stretching from the western border of China sweeping through Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, through Arabia the Middle East, northern Africa and all the way down to Southern Africa. TBW

Desert Locust situation update

New swarms forming in the Horn of Africa The situation remains extremely alarming in the Horn of Africa, specifically Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia where widespread breeding is in progress and new swarms are starting to form, representing an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods at the beginning of the upcoming cropping season.

KENYA.
Widespread swarm breeding continues in northern and central counties where an increasing number of hopper bands and first-generation immature swarms are forming. This may be supplemented by new-generation immature swarms arriving from Somalia. Further concentration is expected in Marsabit and Turkana. Aerial and ground control operations continue.

ETHIOPIA.
Breeding continues within a widespread area of Oromiya and SNNPR regions, including the Rift Valley, where early instar hopper bands are forming in some places. Immature swarms are present in the south where cross-border movements are likely from adjacent areas of Somalia and Kenya. Aerial and ground control operations continue.

SOMALIA.
Late instar hopper bands, maturing adult groups and at least one mature swarm on the northwest coast where egg-laying continues. Ground control operations underway with biopesticides.

SUDAN.
Late instar hopper band, fledgelings and immature adult group and swarm on the southern coast of the Red Sea near the Eritrea border. Scattered adults in Tokar Delta, the northeast and in the Nile Valley.

ERITREA.
Immature adult groups on the northern coast of the Red Sea near the Sudan border. Hopper groups on the Buri Peninsula.

SAUDI ARABIA.
Mature swarm and laying adult groups near the Persian Gulf between Dammam and Qaryat Al Ulya. Scattered adults on the central Red Sea coast.

KUWAIT.
Immature swarms in the north and near Kuwait City.

UAE.
Immature swarm on the western coast near Qatar.

IRAN.
Swarms laying eggs in the southwest (southern Khuzestan, Busherh, southern Fars, western Hormozgan provinces) that will start to hatch later this week and form hopper bands. Local breeding continues in the southeast where hoppers are forming groups and bands in eastern Hormozgan. Control operations are in progress.

PAKISTAN.
Mature adult groups laying eggs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Dera Ismail Khan, Lucky Marwat) and Baluchistan (Dalbandin, Kharan, Khuzdar, Washtuk, Turbat) that will hatch during the second half of March and form hopper groups and small bands. New generation immature groups and small swarms are likely to start forming in Baluchistan by the end of March. FAO

Hundreds of billions of locusts swarm in East Africa in pictures. BBC

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Friday, 6 March 2020

Desert Locust update: New swarms forming in Somalia and Kenya: Swarms hitting 20 countries spanning thousands of miles from the Western border of China to the Western coast of Africa Down the Horn of Africa to Tanzania

Locust situation as of March 5th 2020. Click on image to enlarge.

The Desert Locust (Schistocerca gregaria) is the most destructive migratory pest in the world. They are ravenous eaters who consume their own weight per day, targeting food crops and forage. Just a single square kilometre of the swarm can contain up to 80 million adults, with the capacity to consume the same amount of food in one day as 35,000 people. Large swarms pose a major threat to food security and rural livelihoods. FAO has long-standing expertise in monitoring Desert Locust populations and helping countries cope with this devastating crop pest.

New swarms forming in Somalia and starting in Kenya
The situation remains extremely alarming in the Horn of Africa, specifically Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia where widespread breeding is in progress and new swarms are starting to form, representing an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods at the beginning of the upcoming cropping season.

EASTERN AFRICA

Kenya.
Widespread swarm breeding continues in northern and central counties where an increasing number of hopper bands are forming and, in the past few days, the new generation of immature swarms have started to form. This may be supplemented by new-generation immature swarms arriving from Somalia. Further concentration is expected in Marsabit and Turkana. Aerial and ground control operations continue.

Ethiopia. 
Swarms continue to mature and breed over a widespread area of Oromiya and SNNPR regions, including the Rift Valley. Cross-border movements continued to be reported from adjacent areas of Somalia and Kenya.

Somalia.
In the northwest, late instar hopper bands and immature adult groups are forming between Berbera and Burao. In the northeast, new immature swarms are forming near Garowe. Some swarms may be moving south towards NE Kenya.

South Sudan.
The mature swarm was seen on 23 February near Laboni and the Uganda border dispersed into many small swarms.

OTHER HOTSPOTS

Sudan.
Scattered adults are maturing on the central coast of the Red Sea. No locusts reported elsewhere.

Eritrea.
Breeding continued on the central and northern Red Sea coast where groups of hoppers and immature adults formed. A mature swarm appeared on the coast near Massawa and laid eggs.

Saudi Arabia.
Ground control operations against hopper bands on the Red Sea coast near Qunfidah finished on 26 February but continued against immature groups in the interior between Wadi Dawasir and the Persian Gulf.

Yemen. 
Another generation of breeding is in progress on the Red Sea coast where hatching and early instar hopper bands continue to form. An immature swarm was seen in Sana’a on 29 February. New breeding was seen on the southern coast near Aden were early and late instar hopper bands were present, the latter forming immature adult groups. Control could not be carried out.

Oman.
Breeding continues on the north and east coasts where hopper groups and bands have formed. Swarms were reported recently on the north coast.

Iraq.
Swarms were reportedly flying in the southeast between Basrah and Nasiriyah.

Iran.
22 immature swarms spread out along the southwest coast between Bushehr and Bander-e-Lengheh in Fars, Khozestan, Bushehr and Hormozgan provinces where they quickly matured within four days to lay eggs. Local breeding continued in the southeast. Control operations are in progress.

Pakistan.
Mature adult groups and swarms were seen copulating in Okara district of Punjab and Dera Ismail Khan and Lucky Marwat districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Spring breeding is in progress in the interior of Baluchistan between Khuzdar and Dalbandin, and on the southwest coast near Turbat where adult groups are laying eggs and early instar hopper groups are already forming. New generation immature groups and swarms could start forming in Baluchistan by the end of March.

Afghanistan. 
Three swarms reportedly arrived in Khost province from adjacent areas of NW Pakistan on about 21 February.

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Desert Locust situation update: FAO appeals for urgent support to fight worsening Desert Locust upsurge in the Horn of Africa: Swarms invade the Persian Gulf and continue to breed in the Horn of Africa

Credit Locust Watch

Desert Locust situation update

Swarms invade the Persian Gulf and continue to breed in the Horn of Africa.  

The situation remains extremely alarming in the Horn of Africa, specifically Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia where widespread breeding is in progress and new swarms are expected to form in the coming weeks.

In the past few days, there has been a significant movement of swarms over the Arabian Peninsula, unrelated to the Horn of Africa, that reached both sides of the Persian Gulf.

In Kenya, swarms continue to be reported in northern and central areas where they are mostly mature and have laid eggs. Hatching is causing an increasing number of hopper bands to form with new swarm formation expected in the coming weeks. Mature swarms are also present along the shores of Lake Turkana.

Aerial and ground control operations continue. In  Ethiopia, the situation is similar to Kenya with widespread swarms, breeding and hatching in Somali, Oromiya and SNNPR regions, including the Rift Valley. Movements further north can be expected as well as from adjacent areas of Somalia and Kenya.

In Somalia, breeding continues in the northeast where new immature swarms are expected to form in about one week or so.

In Uganda, a mature swarm arrived in the northeast from adjacent areas of western Kenya on 24 February.

In South Sudan, only remnants of an earlier mature swarm have been seen in the southeastern county of Magwi. A second mature swarm was seen near the border on 23 February.

In Tanzania, no new reports of swarms. DRC (the Democratic Republic of the Congo). A small group of mature Desert Locust arrived on the western shore of Lake Albert near Bunia on 21 February after crossing northern Uganda on strong northeasterly winds. The country last received Desert Locust in 1944.

In Saudi Arabia, ground control operations increased against hopper bands on the Red Sea coast and immature groups and swarms in the interior.

Yemen. Another generation of breeding is in progress on the Red Sea coast where hatching and early instar hopper bands are forming. Immature and mature swarms were reported in the interior during this past week. Surveys remain limited and control could not be carried out.

Persian Gulf. During several days of strong winds, dense immature swarms arrived in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and along the southwest coast of Iran between Bushehr and Kish Island on 20-21 February. More swarms are likely during periods of southerly winds. Control operations were immediately mounted in Iran. Locust Watch

Control operations against locusts are underway in 13 countries, from India in the east, all the way across to Mauritania in West Africa. The main threats are in East Africa and Yemen, as well the Gulf states, Iran, Pakistan and India. Most recently, locusts have been seen in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and swarms have arrived in Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar, and along the coast of Iran. The FAO has told us that in three of the worst affected countries, Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia, they estimate that at least 100,000 hectares in each country need to be sprayed with insecticide. By the end of January, they were substantially short of this target in the worst affected countries in East Africa. Ethiopia 22,550 hectares Kenya 20,000 hectares (estimated) Somalia 15,000 hectares (estimated) BBC

Sunday, 23 February 2020

The story of how a small plague of locusts grew into billions in just over 12 months stretching from China sweeping all the way to Botswana in Southern Africa

April 2019, Iran is under attack from millions of locusts

On January the 11th, 2019, the holiest site in Islam was swarmed by a plague of locusts, forcing cleaners into action to drive the insects out. The Great Mosque in Mecca, which hosts millions of Muslim pilgrims every year and is the holiest site in Islam was the birthplace of a plague which in just over 12 months would grow into billions, stretching from the western border of China sweeping through Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, through Arabia the Middle East, northern Africa and all the way down to Southern Africa. TBW

On Wednesday, 17 April 2019, after unprecedented floods killed more than 80 people and damaged or destroyed 100,000 homes, Iran is now bracing its self for swarms of locusts. A locust outbreak in the Arabian Peninsula has been spreading to Iran, threatening crops and food security in large areas of the coastal province of Hormozgan, an official said. Director of a department at Horkozgan’s agricultural organization told Tasnim that Iran is facing the worst locust attack in the past 40 years.
He said several swarms of locusts have come from the Arabian peninsula to Iran over the last 10 weeks, some of which have penetrated into farmlands of the province as far as 200 kilometres from the coast. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in February that a locust outbreak in Sudan and Eritrea was spreading rapidly along both sides of the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia and Egypt. TBW

On Thursday, 2 May 2019, “A tenth of the world’s population was said to be in danger!” Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, Yemen and Oman are all in the path of the now-massive locust swarm.
Last month, (April 2019), the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations warned that locusts are increasing in South West Asia and Arabia due to spring breeding. As well as Saudi Arabia; Iran, Pakistan, Yemen and Oman are also being hit by the insects. During massive plagues, the insects may spread over 29m sq km, covering 60 countries and 20% of the world’s land surface, says the UN. Swarms can contain up to 80 million locusts per square kilometre. TBW

Into June 2019 and the biggest locust plague in more than 25 years hits India: In what is becoming an increasing problem in 2019 yet another locust plague is attacking crops on an unsuspected country. An army of locusts coming from the Pakistan side has laid siege to a western Indian border district. Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer district is witnessing the biggest attack in 26 years, said the Locust Warning Organisation (LWO), headquartered in Jodhpur. According to the officials, locust hunters are trying to limit the damage. TBW

Still, in June, Europe is stung! Millions of locusts have devastated at least 2,000 hectares of crops in Sardinia, Italian farmers union Coldiretti said on Monday, with experts calling the invasion the worst in six decades. The most affected areas are Nuoro, Ottana and Orani in the middle of the Mediterranean island, with many areas blanketed by the insects, Coldiretti said in a statement.
The locust invasion is the worst in the area in 60 years, local entomologist Ignazio Floris told La Stampa daily. “The locusts emerge on uncultivated land but then they go to cultivated land to eat,” said Coldiretti, adding that there is no current solution to the invasion. TBW

Somalia and Ethiopia! December 2019. Biblical sized plagues bringing Somalia to its knees: Record-breaking drought: Cholera epidemic: The worst flooding in living memory: And now the biggest locust invasion in 25 years: Desert locusts are destroying tens of thousands of hectares of crops and grazing land in Somalia in the worst invasion in 25 years, the United Nations food agency said on Wednesday, and the infestation is likely to spread further. The locusts have damaged about 70,000 hectares of land in Somalia and neighbouring Ethiopia, threatening food supplies in both countries and the livelihoods of farming communities, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said. An average swarm will destroy crops that could feed 2,500 people for a year, the FAO said. TBW

Into January 2020, East Africa: The most serious outbreak of desert locusts in 25 years is spreading across East Africa and posing an unprecedented threat to food security in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries, authorities say. Unusual climate conditions are partly to blame. Roughly the length of a finger, the insects fly together by the millions and are devouring crops and forcing people in some areas to bodily wade through them. An “extremely dangerous increase” in locust swarm activity has been reported in Kenya, the East African regional body reported this week. One swarm measured 60 kilometres (37 miles) long by 40 kilometres (25 miles) wide in the country’s northeast, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development said in a statement. TBW

We are still in January and Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are suffering biggest locust swarm in 70 years: India, Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen are also seeing substantial breeding activity. Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are dealing with desert locust swarms of “unprecedented size and destructive potential” that could spill over into more countries in East Africa, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned on Monday. South Sudan and Uganda are not currently affected, but are at risk, FAO added. In a press release issued on Monday, FAO Director-General QU Dongyu said the agency is activating fast-track mechanisms to support governments, warning that the situation is now of “international dimensions”. In addition, numerous desert locust swarms have been breeding in India, Iran and Pakistan since June 2019. And some have migrated to southern Iran where recent heavy rains have nurtured a breeding ground that could generate swarms in the spring. Egypt, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen are also seeing substantial breeding activity that could see locust bands expand into swarms in the coming months, FAO added TBW

We are still in January 2020 and the devastation is unsurmountable.” The unprecedented plagues of locusts sweeping across East Africa will grow 500 times bigger by June: One swarm already contains billions of locusts. TBW 

Into February 2020 and the swarm is spreading faster than the coronavirus. A state of emergency is declared in Pakistan to tackle the biggest locust attack in decades. The unprecedented locust swarms now stretch from India all the way down to Kenya in East Africa. Numerous desert locust swarms have been breeding in India, Iran and Pakistan since June 2019. And some have migrated to southern Iran where recent heavy rains have nurtured a breeding ground that could generate swarms in the spring. Egypt, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen are also seeing substantial breeding activity that could see locust bands expand into swarms of billions in the coming months, FAO added. TBW 

A day later: African and Middle East Locust swarms update: A day after Pakistan declared a state of emergency Somalia has declared a national emergency: Agriculture Organization (FAO) “worst situation in 25 years”. Somalia has become the first country in the Horn of Africa to declare a locust infestation sweeping the region as a national emergency. The country’s Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement on Sunday the desert locust surge “poses a major threat to Somalia’s fragile food security situation”.”Food sources for people and their livestock are at risk,” it added. “The desert swarms are uncommonly large and consume huge amounts of crops and forage. Link

UN warns of ‘major shock’: Africa locust outbreak spreads: Swarms of billions of locusts destroying crops in Kenya, biggest outbreak in 70 years, as well as Somalia and Ethiopia, India and Pakistan. Uganda scrambled to respond to the arrival of the biggest locust outbreak that parts of East Africa have seen in decades, while the United Nations warned Monday that “we simply cannot afford another major shock” to an already vulnerable region. An emergency government meeting hours after the locusts were spotted inside Uganda on Sunday decided to deploy military forces. TBW

Bahrain is the latest country to be invaded by the Locust Plagues: Swarms of locusts darken the skies in Bahrain as they move eastward toward China. The worst locust outbreak in nearly a hundred years is spreading fast. The FAO yesterday announced South Sudan and Botswana, the first southern African nation to have been invaded by migratory locusts and in a separate, report the locust plague has reached the Western borders of coronavirus-hit China, the area of the plagues are vast and the list of countries now affected is enormous. TBW  

Saturday, 22 February 2020

Bahrain is the latest country to be invaded by the Locust Plagues: Swarms of locusts darken the skies in Bahrain as they move eastward toward China (Videos)

Image YouTube

A huge swarm of locusts stopped traffic on a major highway in Bahrain yesterday, as the insects entered the country on high winds, ironically coming back home to the region where the original plague began back in January 2019.

Terrifying videos on YouTube show the insects landing on car windscreens as a large column flies overhead. The swarm is thought to have spread from Saudi Arabia, where they had been seen in regions including Riyadh, Mecca and Qassim because of strong winds.

Back in January 2019, the Great Mosque in Mecca, which hosts millions of Muslim pilgrims every year and is the holiest site in Islam was hit by a plague of locusts which is thought to have been the origin of the massive plagues now stretching from South Africa to China’s Western border. TBW

The locust plagues are destroying crops and economies of the worlds poorest nations

The worst locust outbreak in nearly a hundred years is spreading fast. The FAO yesterday announced South Sudan and Botswana, the first southern African nation to have been invaded by migratory locusts and in a separate, report the locust plague has reached the Western borders of coronavirus-hit China, the area of the plagues are vast and the list of countries now affected is enormous. A small plague was first reported on TBWback in Jan 2019, ironically at the holiest site in Islam. The locusts were filmed swarming around the Great Mosque in Mecca. Since then the plague has stretched Eastwards from Saudi Arabia, through Iran, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan, Bangladesh and on to the Western border of China. Westwards from Saudi Arabia into Egypt and then South into the Horn Of Africa and all the way down to Botswana in the South, passing through Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique and Uganda. Thousands of miles of crops have been destroyed in just 13 months. TBW

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Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Like a thief in the night! Locust Plague Timeline: The Biblical plague started ironically at the holiest site in Islam in 2019: It now stretches from the Chinese border to South Africa: New swarms in China, Botswana and South Sudan

The worst locust outbreak in nearly a hundred years is spreading fast, the FAO yesterday announced South Sudan and Botswana, the first southern African nation has been invaded by migratory locusts and in a separate, unconfirmed report the locust plague has reached the Western borders of coronavirus-hit China, the area of the plagues are vast and the numbers of countries now affected enormous, see map above. A small plague was reported on TBWback in Jan 2019 ironically at the holiest site in Islam. The locusts were filmed swarming around the Great Mosque in Mecca, since then the plague has stretched from the Chinese border to South Africa. See Timeline Below

The worst locust outbreak that parts of East Africa have seen in 70 years has reached South Sudan, a country where roughly half the population already faces hunger after years of civil war, officials announced Tuesday. Around 2,000 locusts were spotted inside the country, Agriculture Minister Onyoti Adigo told reporters. Authorities will try to control the outbreak, he added. The locusts have been seen in Eastern Equatorial state near the borders with Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.

All have been affected by the outbreak that has been influenced by the changing climate in the region. The situation in those three countries “remains extremely alarming,” the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said in its latest Locust Watch update Monday. Locusts also have reached Sudan, Eritrea, Tanzania and more recently Uganda.

The soil in South Sudan’s Eastern Equatorial has a sandy nature that allows the locusts to lay eggs easily, said Meshack Malo, a country representative with the FAO. At this stage “if we are not able to deal with them … it will be a problem,” he said. South Sudan is even less prepared than other countries in the region for a locust outbreak, and its people are arguably more vulnerable. More than 5 million people are severely food insecure, the U.N. humanitarian office says in its latest assessment, and some 860,000 children are malnourished. Five years of civil war shattered South Sudan’s economy, and lingering insecurity since a 2018 peace deal continues to endanger humanitarians trying to distribute aid. Another local aid worker was shot and killed last week, the U.N. said Tuesday. The locusts have travelled across the region in swarms the size of major cities.

Botswana the first southern African nation has been invaded by migratory locusts

Botswana’s Ministry of Agriculture and Security on Tuesday announced that the southern African nation has been invaded by migratory locusts. Plant protection officer Velleminah Pelokgale informed farmers that there is an outbreak of a migratory locust in Ngamiland area in the northern part of the country. She appealed to the public to report to members of the public to report suspected sightings of the locusts to the nearest agriculture office. Botswana is believed to be the first southern African country to register the first case of a locust outbreak.

The swarms of billions of locusts have been destroying crops in Kenya, which hasn’t seen such an outbreak in 70 years, as well as Somalia and Ethiopia, which haven’t seen this in a quarter of a century. The insects have exploited favourable wet conditions after unusually heavy rains and experts say climate change is expected to bring more of the same.

Locust plague reaches coronavirus-hit China

Locust plague reaches coronavirus-hit China after wreaking havoc across Africa Chilling footage has shown thousands of insects swarming the skies at a border in China. They reportedly come from a plague that has devastated east Africa in recent weeks But the Communist Party of China has tried to downplay the severity of the swarms reaching the country. They claim their modern technology and sufficient stocks which have not been seen in Africa will prevent any widespread damage. That has had little impact among residents already worried about the spread of coronavirus though, which has already killed 1,770 people in mainland China. Another said: “You can believe what the experts say? Just listen to it.” One expert, quoted by the Epoch Times, warned that the locusts could pose a direct threat to China, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. But others were less worried, suggesting they would not be able to spread into the snowy region of Xinjiang. Star

Locust plague timeline

Jan 2019: The holiest site in Islam has been hit by a plague of locusts, forcing cleaners into action to drive the insects out. Footage shared on social media showed the insects swarming around the Great Mosque in Mecca, which hosts millions of Muslim pilgrims every year.TBW

April 2019: A locust outbreak in the Arabian Peninsula has been spreading to Iran, threatening crops and food security in large areas of the coastal province of Hormozgan, an official said.
Director of a department at Horkozgan’s agricultural organization told Tasnim that Iran is facing the worst locust attack in the past 40 years. TBW

May 2019: “A tenth of the world’s population in danger!” Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, Yemen and Oman all in the path of a massive locust swarm. TBW

June 2019: In what is becoming an increasing problem in 2019 yet another locust plague is attacking crops on an unsuspected country. An army of locusts coming from the Pakistan side has laid siege to a western Indian border district. Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer district is witnessing the biggest attack in 26 years, said the Locust Warning Organisation (LWO), headquartered in Jodhpur. TBW

June 2019: Millions of locusts have devastated at least 2,000 hectares of crops in Sardinia, Italian farmers union Coldiretti said on Monday, with experts calling the invasion the worst in six decades.
The most affected areas are Nuoro, Ottana and Orani in the middle of the Mediterranean island, with many areas blanketed by the insects, Coldiretti said in a statement. TBW

 
Dec 2019: Biblical sized plagues bringing Somalia to its knees: Record-breaking drought: Cholera epidemic: The worst flooding in living memory: And the biggest locust invasion in 25 years TBW

Jan 2020: The most serious outbreak of desert locusts in 25 years is spreading across East Africa and posing an unprecedented threat to food security in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries, authorities say. Unusual climate conditions are partly to blame. The locust swarms hang like shimmering dark clouds on the horizon in some places. Roughly the length of a finger, the insects fly together by the millions and are devouring crops and forcing people in some areas to bodily wade through them. TBW

Jan 2020: Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are dealing with desert locust swarms of “unprecedented size and destructive potential” that could spill over into more countries in East Africa, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned on Monday. Destroying hundreds of thousands of acres of crops, the outbreak is impacting the region’s food insecurity. The UN agency urged for a collective campaign to deal with the crisis, concerned over the risk that the swarms spill over into more countries in East Africa, “if efforts to deal with the voracious pest are not scaled up across the region”. TBW

Jan 2020: Locust Plague Update” Devastation is unsurmountable.” The unprecedented plagues of locusts sweeping across East Africa to grow 500 times bigger by June: One swarm contains billions of locusts. TBW

Feb 2020: A state of emergency was declared in Pakistan to tackle the biggest locust attack in decades. The insects are destroying crops in Punjab province. The Punjab province in Pakistan is the main region for agricultural production. Prime Minister Imran Khan approved a National Action Plan (NAP) that requires a sum of Rs 7.3 billion to overcome the crisis. Minister for National Food Security Khusro Bakhtiar informed the National Assembly about the gravity of the situation. TBW

Feb 2020: Somalia has become the first country in the Horn of Africa to declare a locust infestation sweeping the region as a national emergency. The country’s Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement on Sunday the desert locust surge “poses a major threat to Somalia’s fragile food security situation”.”Food sources for people and their livestock are at risk,” it added. “The desert swarms are uncommonly large and consume huge amounts of crops and forage. TBW

Feb 2020″ Uganda scrambled to respond to the arrival of the biggest locust outbreak that parts of East Africa have seen in decades, while the United Nations warned Monday that “we simply cannot afford another major shock” to an already vulnerable region. An emergency government meeting hours after the locusts were spotted inside Uganda on Sunday decided to deploy military forces to help with ground-based pesticide spraying, while two planes for aerial spraying will arrive as soon as possible, a statement said. TBW

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Locust Swarm Update: UN warns of ‘major shock’: Africa locust outbreak spreads: Swarms of billions of locusts destroying crops in Kenya, biggest outbreak in 70 years, as well as Somalia and Ethiopia, India and Pakistan

Credit AP

Uganda scrambled to respond to the arrival of the biggest locust outbreak that parts of East Africa have seen in decades, while the United Nations warned Monday that “we simply cannot afford another major shock” to an already vulnerable region. An emergency government meeting hours after the locusts were spotted inside Uganda on Sunday decided to deploy military forces to help with ground-based pesticide spraying, while two planes for aerial spraying will arrive as soon as possible, a statement said.

Aerial spraying is considered the only effective control. The swarms of billions of locusts have been destroying crops in Kenya, which hasn’t seen such an outbreak in 70 years, as well as Somalia and Ethiopia, which haven’t seen this in a quarter-century. The insects have exploited favourable wet conditions after unusually heavy rains, and experts say climate change is expected to bring more of the same. Keith Cressman, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organizations senior locust forecasting officer, said Kenya has received “waves and waves of swarms” since the beginning of the year from the Horn of Africa, and “over the weekend they moved on the side of Mount Kilimanjaro across the border into Tanzania.” “Also over the weekend they moved into northeastern Uganda,” he told a news conference at U.N. headquarters in New York.

“We’re expecting any day they will move across the border into the southeast corner of South Sudan,” where another several million people face hunger as the country struggles to emerge from civil war. A medium-size swarm of locusts can eat the same amount of food as the entire population of Kenya, Cressman said, and “that swarm in one day can eat the same amount of food as everybody here in the tri-state area, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York. So not taking action in time — you can see the consequences.”

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. “There is the risk of a catastrophe,” U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock told a briefing in New York on Monday, warning that 13 million people already face severe food insecurity — 10 million in places affected by locusts — and the region can’t afford another jolt. AP

Southwest Asia and the Red Sea area also affected

Numerous desert locust swarms have been breeding in India, Iran and Pakistan since June 2019. And some have migrated to southern Iran where recent heavy rains have nurtured a breeding ground that could generate swarms in the spring. Egypt, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen are also seeing substantial breeding activity that could see locust bands expand into swarms in the coming months, FAO added. The agency concluded that it stands ready to leverage its expertise and facilitate a coordinated response. UN

Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are dealing with desert locust swarms of “unprecedented size and destructive potential” that could spill over into more countries in East Africa, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned on Monday. Destroying hundreds of thousands of acres of crops, the outbreak is impacting the region’s food insecurity. The UN agency urged for a collective campaign to deal with the crisis, concerned over the risk that the swarms spill over into more countries in East Africa, “if efforts to deal with the voracious pest are not scaled up across the region”. South Sudan and Uganda are not currently affected but are at risk.

Monday, 3 February 2020

African and Middle East Locust swarms update: A day after Pakistan declared a state of emergency Somalia has declared a national emergency: Agriculture Organization (FAO) “worst situation in 25 years”

Stock photo

Somalia has become the first country in the Horn of Africa to declare a locust infestation sweeping the region as a national emergency. The country’s Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement on Sunday the desert locust surge “poses a major threat to Somalia’s fragile food security situation”.”Food sources for people and their livestock are at risk,” it added. “The desert swarms are uncommonly large and consume huge amounts of crops and forage.

“The ministry said the emergency declaration was made to focus efforts and raise funds because it was critical to contain the locust swarms before harvests are due in April. Desert locusts – whose destructive infestations cause large-scale crop damage and hunger – are a species of grasshopper that live largely solitary lives until a combination of conditions promote breeding and lead them to form massive swarms.”Given the severity of this desert locust outbreak, we must commit our best efforts to protect the food security and livelihoods of Somali people,” said Minister of Agriculture Said Hussein Iid.”If we don’t act now, we risk a severe food crisis that we cannot afford.”

According to the Regional Food Security and Nutrition Working Group, East Africa is already experiencing a high degree of food insecurity, with more than 19 million people facing acute hunger. The locusts have led to what the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has termed the “worst situation in 25 years” in the Horn of Africa. The FAO says the current invasion is known as an “upsurge” – when an entire region is affected – however, if it gets worse and cannot be contained, more than a year or more, it would become what is known as a “plague” of locusts. There have been six major desert locust plagues in the 1900s, the last of which was in 1987-89. The last significant surge was in 2003-05.

A state of emergency was declared in Pakistan yesterday to tackle the biggest locust attack in decades. The insects are destroying crops in Punjab province. The Punjab province in Pakistan is the main region for agricultural production. Prime Minister Imran Khan approved a National Action Plan (NAP) that requires a sum of Rs 7.3 billion to overcome the crisis. Minister for National Food Security Khusro Bakhtiar informed the National Assembly about the gravity of the situation. Khan ordered the formation of a high-level committee to be headed by Bakhtiar to take decisions at the federal level for the elimination of insects. He has directed the authorities concerned to take immediate measures on the basis of damage of ripened crops.

Southwest Asia and the Red Sea area also affected

Numerous desert locust swarms have been breeding in India, Iran and Pakistan since June 2019. And some have migrated to southern Iran where recent heavy rains have nurtured a breeding ground that could generate swarms in the spring. Egypt, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen are also seeing substantial breeding activity that could see locust bands expand into swarms in the coming months, FAO added. The agency concluded that it stands ready to leverage its expertise and facilitate a coordinated response. UN

Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are dealing with desert locust swarms of “unprecedented size and destructive potential” that could spill over into more countries in East Africa, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned on Monday. Destroying hundreds of thousands of acres of crops, the outbreak is impacting the region’s food insecurity. The UN agency urged for a collective campaign to deal with the crisis, concerned over the risk that the swarms spill over into more countries in East Africa, “if efforts to deal with the voracious pest are not scaled up across the region”. South Sudan and Uganda are not currently affected but are at risk.

Sunday, 2 February 2020

A state of emergency declared in Pakistan to tackle the biggest locust attack in decades. The unprecedented locust swarms now stretch from India all the way down to Kenya in East Africa

Blue broken line showing the incredible number of countries suffering from the locust plagues

A state of emergency was declared in Pakistan to tackle the biggest locust attack in decades. The insects are destroying crops in Punjab province. The Punjab province in Pakistan is the main region for agricultural production. Prime Minister Imran Khan approved a National Action Plan (NAP) that requires a sum of Rs 7.3 billion to overcome the crisis. Minister for National Food Security Khusro Bakhtiar informed the National Assembly about the gravity of the situation. Khan ordered the formation of a high-level committee to be headed by Bakhtiar to take decisions at the federal level for the elimination of insects. He has directed the authorities concerned to take immediate measures on the basis of damage of ripened crops.

Southwest Asia and the Red Sea area also affected

Numerous desert locust swarms have been breeding in India, Iran and Pakistan since June 2019. And some have migrated to southern Iran where recent heavy rains have nurtured a breeding ground that could generate swarms in the spring. Egypt, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen are also seeing substantial breeding activity that could see locust bands expand into swarms in the coming months, FAO added. The agency concluded that it stands ready to leverage its expertise and facilitate a coordinated response. UN

Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are dealing with desert locust swarms of “unprecedented size and destructive potential” that could spill over into more countries in East Africa, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned on Monday. Destroying hundreds of thousands of acres of crops, the outbreak is impacting the region’s food insecurity. The UN agency urged for a collective campaign to deal with the crisis, concerned over the risk that the swarms spill over into more countries in East Africa, “if efforts to deal with the voracious pest are not scaled up across the region”. South Sudan and Uganda are not currently affected but are at risk.

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Locust Plague Update” Devastation is unsurmountable.” The unprecedented plagues of locusts sweeping across East Africa to grow 500 times bigger by June: One swarm contains billions of locusts

Credit AP

  • According to the Daily Mail, One swarm is estimated to contain billions of locusts and is big enough to cover Greater London.
  • “The scale of devastation is unsurmountable.”
  • To put it in perspective, a large desert locust plague can contain up to 150 million individuals per square kilometre.  
  • Collectively, the insects can destroy at least 200 tonnes of vegetation per day.

Credit Daily Mail

Oxfam is preparing for a potential response as swarms of locusts sweep across Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia and is likely to grow 500 times bigger by June to neighbouring Uganda and South Sudan. The plagues are hitting the East African region where food insecurity has already reached record levels following unprecedented droughts and in some areas flash floods and millions more are at risk to go hungry unless these swarms are immediately controlled, warned Oxfam today.

Lydia Zigomo, the Regional Director of Oxfam in Horn, East and Central Africa (HECA) said: “Currently, 25.5 million people in Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda are already suffering from hunger and severe malnutrition. These infestations of hundreds of millions of locusts need to be quickly contained before the next main cropping season of March to July.”
The scale of devastation is unsurmountable. To put it in perspective, a large desert locust plague can contain up to 150 million individuals per square kilometre. One million locusts weighing approximately two tonnes could eat as much food in one day as about 20 elephants, 50 camels or 5000 people. Collectively, the insects can destroy at least 200 tonnes of vegetation per day.
Oxfam and partners are on the ground monitoring the humanitarian situation. “We have plans to provide cash support to people most-in-need, particularly small farmers and pastoralists, so they are able to buy food and fodder for their livestock,”
Lydia Zigomo, Oxfam Regional Director in Horn East and Central Africa
Oxfam
“Ethiopia has already been suffering from continuous droughts since 2015 and more recently hit by floods which destroyed people’s harvest. This locust infestation, which was partly fueled by recent cyclone hitting the country last December, has now eaten hundreds of square kilometres of vegetation in the Amhara and Tigray regions,” Zigomo added.
In Kenya, the locust swarms have increased spread over the past month across 13 counties including Isiolo, Samburu, Wajir, Garissa, Tana River, Marsabit, Laikipia, Mandera, Kitui, Baringo, Meru, Embu, and Turkana, and have destroyed food crops and pasture for livestock. These same counties have already experienced devastating droughts and floods in recent years pushing over 3 million people to extreme levels of hunger.  These swarms will likely devastate the upcoming planting season.
 In Somalia, tens of thousands of hectares of land have been affected in Somaliland, Puntland and Galmudug (Mudug), as mature swarms hit the Garbahare area near the Kenyan border. Locusts are also reported to be travelling south to Somalia’s Gedo region leaving a trail of destroyed farms. Operations are underway in the northeast (Puntland) to control the swarms that continue to move towards the central and southern areas, but the lack of security in some of these parts is hampering efforts to survey and control the infestations. Oxfam

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Desert locusts are eating their way across large parts of East Africa in a swarm of enormous proportions. It is the worst locust outbreak in some countries there have seen in 70 years. Researchers say they pose an unprecedented threat to food security in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries. Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya are the worst affected, and Uganda is bracing for an invasion too. Authorities have advised citizens to stock up on food as the insects approach the border with Kenya.

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

“Unprecedented!” Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are suffering biggest locust swarm in 70 years: India, Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen are also seeing substantial breeding activity

FAO/Giampiero Diana Locusts can devastate crops and pastures.

  • Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are dealing with desert locust swarms of “unprecedented size
  • Destroying hundreds of thousands of acres of crops, the outbreak is impacting the region’s food insecurity
  • Unusual climate conditions have favoured rapid locust reproduction
  • Left unchecked, the numbers of crop-devouring insects could grow 500 fold
  • Southwest Asia and the Red Sea area also affected

Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are dealing with desert locust swarms of “unprecedented size and destructive potential” that could spill over into more countries in East Africa, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned on Monday. Destroying hundreds of thousands of acres of crops, the outbreak is impacting the region’s food insecurity. The UN agency urged for a collective campaign to deal with the crisis, concerned over the risk that the swarms spill over into more countries in East Africa, “if efforts to deal with the voracious pest are not scaled up across the region”.

Moreover, unusual climate conditions have favoured rapid locust reproduction. The agency stressed that as favourable breeding conditions continue, the increase in locust swarms could last until June. And left unchecked, the numbers of crop-devouring insects could grow 500 fold by then. Facing an unprecedented threat Kenya has not faced a locust threat of this magnitude in 70 years, FAO warned. The outbreak of desert locusts, considered the most dangerous locust species, has also affected parts of Somalia and Ethiopia, the likes of which have not been seen on this scale in 25 years.

South Sudan and Uganda are not currently affected, but are at risk, FAO added. In a press release issued on Monday, FAO Director-General QU Dongyu said the agency is activating fast-track mechanisms to support governments, warning that the situation is now of “international dimensions”. “Authorities in the region have already jump-started control activities, but in view of the scale and urgency of the threat, additional financial backing from the international donor community is needed so they can access the tools and resources required to get the job done,” Mr Qu said.

Southwest Asia and the Red Sea area also affected

In addition, numerous desert locust swarms have been breeding in India, Iran and Pakistan since June 2019. And some have migrated to southern Iran where recent heavy rains have nurtured a breeding ground that could generate swarms in the spring. Egypt, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen are also seeing substantial breeding activity that could see locust bands expand into swarms in the coming months, FAO added. The agency concluded that it stands ready to leverage its expertise and facilitate a coordinated response. UN

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Saturday, 18 January 2020

Just 1 swarm measured 60 kilometres (37 miles) long by 40 kilometres (25 miles) wide: The most serious outbreak of desert locusts in 25 years is spreading across East Africa

Photo desertification.wordpress.com

  • A small plague of locusts can eat the same amount of food as 35,000 people in one day.
  • A typical desert locust swarm can contain up to 150 million locusts per square kilometre.

The most serious outbreak of desert locusts in 25 years is spreading across East Africa and posing an unprecedented threat to food security in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries, authorities say. Unusual climate conditions are partly to blame. The locust swarms hang like shimmering dark clouds on the horizon in some places. Roughly the length of a finger, the insects fly together by the millions and are devouring crops and forcing people in some areas to bodily wade through them.

Near the Kenyan town of Isiolo on Thursday, one young camel herder swung a stick at them, with little effect. Others tried to shout them away. An “extremely dangerous increase” in locust swarm activity has been reported in Kenya, the East African regional body reported this week. One swarm measured 60 kilometres (37 miles) long by 40 kilometres (25 miles) wide in the country’s northeast, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development said in a statement.

“A typical desert locust swarm can contain up to 150 million locusts per square kilometre,” it said. “Swarms migrate with the wind and can cover 100 to 150 kilometres in a day. An average swarm can destroy as much food crops in a day as is sufficient to feed 2,500 people.”The outbreak of desert locusts considered the most dangerous locust species, also has affected parts of Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea and IGAD warns that parts of South Sudan and Uganda could be next.

The outbreak is making the region’s bad food security situation worse, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization has warned. Hundreds of thousands of acres of crops have been destroyed. Already millions of people cope with the constant risk of drought or flooding, as well as deadly unrest in Ethiopia, extremist attacks in Somalia and lingering fighting in South Sudan as it emerges from civil war. The further increase in locust swarms could last until June as favourable breeding conditions continue, IGAD said, helped along by unusually heavy flooding in parts of the region in recent weeks.

Major locust outbreaks can be devastating. A major one between 2003 and 2005 cost more than $500 million to control across 20 countries in northern Africa, the FAO has said, with more than $2.5 billion in harvest losses. To help prevent and control outbreaks, authorities analyze satellite images, stockpile pesticides and conduct aerial spraying.

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