Emergency transboundary outbreak pest (ETOP) situation bulletin for February 2020 with a forecast through mind-April.
The Desert Locust (Schistoseca gregaria - SGR1): SGR situation remained extremely alarming in the central outbreak region (COR) where massive swarms and hoppers and bands were formed and continued spreading throughout the greater Horn of Africa during February. Aerial and/or ground control operations continued in progress in Ethiopia and Kenya and to some extent in northern Somalia during this month. Mature adult locusts reached northern Tanzania, Uganda, and South Sudan and were detected in northeastern DRC on February 21st (the last time locusts were reported in DRC was 1944). New hoppers and swarm formations are in progress and posing even greater threats to food security and livelihoods of vulnerable communities and people in the Horn in the coming months. Survey and control operations continued in Eritrea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Yemen. Dense immature swarms from Saudi Arabia and Yemen were carried by strong wind to Persian Gulf in February. Swarms reached Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and along the west coast of Iran between Bushehr and Kish Island on 20-21 February where control operations were launched. In the eastern outbreak region (EOR), breeding continued in southeastern Iran and control operations were carried out against residual populations in Rajasthan India and a few small swarms appeared in cropping areas in Punjab, Baluchistan and other adjacent areas in Pakistan. More swarms are likely to appear during the southerly winds. The western outbreak region (WOR) remained relatively calm during this month http://www.fao.org/ag/locusts/en/info/info/index.html. Forecast: Breeding will continue and dramatically increase locust numbers in the Horn of Africa. Locust numbers will also increase along coastal areas in Eritrea, Sudan, the interior of the Arabian Peninsula, Iran and western Pakistan. Small-scale breeding is likely in the western outbreak region during the forecast period. FAO estimates some 20.2 million people are facing severe acute food insecurity (Integrated Food Security Phase Classification [IPC] Phases 3 and above) in the Greater Horn of Africa. With the main growing season coming up in the region, locusts threaten to push this figure even higher. Efforts must be made to prevent the current upsurge from reaching a plague stage. Host country governments in the region have been leading intensive surveillance and control operations but the needs are outpacing their efforts. If swarms remain unabated in the coming several weeks and months, we could see dramatic population increase by June, much worse than the situation over the past months. Timely preventive/curative control must be supported with adequate resources to detect and abate locust populations as quickly as possible. Resources are also needed to protect the livelihoods of farmers and pastoralists and ensure they meet their immediate food needs and inputs to restore production. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has revised its Horn of Africa appeal taking into account emerging needs. For this, FAO urgently requested USD 138 million to support locust surveillance and control, safeguard livelihoods, and enhance coordination and preparedness in the Horn of Africa (UN/FAO). FAO also launched a proactive appeal for USD 15.8 to support Sudan and Yemen in the coming several months. It is advised that all frontline and invasion countries remain vigilant and intensify surveillance, monitoring and rapid and timely interventions. Development and humanitarian partners encouraged to remain generous in providing support to reduce the burden of the locust invasions on food security and livelihoods of vulnerable peoples and communities.