Desert Locusts Briefingnote – 15 November 2019
Source: ACAPS. See full report here
Overview: Key priorities
Since June, above average rainfall in many parts of Ethiopia has encouraged vegetation growth, providing favourable ecological conditions for desert locust breeding.
Across 56 woredas (districts), the swarms have developed into hopper bands that are consuming between 8,700 and 1,755,000 metric tons of green vegetation – pastures, cropland, trees – per day.
Current responseeffortsare focused on swarm control and preventative methods, such as aerial sprays. Despite international and national interventions, as of 5 November the infestation is not under control.
The presence of locusts in the crop-producing regions of Somali, Amhara, Tigray, Oromia are expected to severely hamper food security and livestock productivity.
In Tigray region, desert locusts have been reported in the south, southeast, east, and west zones.
The scale and degree of needs is unclear. However, due to the anticipated impact of swarms on agricultural production, the highest sectoral needs will likely be food security and livelihoods.
Agropastoral and pastoral communities are expected to be hardest hit, due to their pre-existing food insecurity and nutritional gaps .
Federal and Regional agricultural sectors offices, including the Ministry of Agriculture, are conducting ground activities and aerial spraying to control the swarms.
In some regions the geographical landscape may restrict the ability to deploy the chemical spraying helicopters.International response capacity
The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and Desert Locust Control Organization for Eastern Africa (DLCO-EA), are supporting the national and regional governments in the response.Anticipated scope and scaleHumanitarian constraints
Breeding of hoppers is expected to continue throughout November, particularly towards the southeast, towards the north from Afar to Tigray, and towards Ogaden.
The full scale of the infestation is yetto be determined. In Afar region, the area infested is larger than previous years’.
In Sitti and Fafanzones of Somali region, new waves of locusts were reported as of 5 November. Due to ongoing heavy rainfall, eggs are hatching and forming hopper bands in the Somali region as of 7 November.
Without adequate intervention the hopper bands are likely to spread to neighbouring countries, including Kenya.
Intercommunal violence may pose security risks and access constraints for humanitarian organisations. Ongoing Insecurity has already challenged control measures in some areas.
On 23 October, intercommunal violence in Oromia region killed at least 80 people.
Clan clashes have been recently reported in Somali region.
In Afar region, sporadic clashes are occurring in an ongoing conflict between the Issa and Afar communities.
In Amhara renewed violence at the end of September has resulted in heightened tensions.
Heavy rains resulted in hampered road access for flood affected areas of Afar and Somali regions. It is unclear whether the access constraints are still present. Increased rainfall is expected to continue until December.
Southern Somali region has major deficits in road infrastructure, which is likely to impact delivery of humanitarian assistance