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.

The locusts descended upon the streets of Gurugram, flying in a large, cloud-like mass and resting upon anything they pleased.

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.

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.

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.

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

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