Risk of desert locust swarms arriving from Kenya and Ethiopia persists
The desert locust upsurge affecting the Greater Horn of Africa since December 2019 could further impact Sudan over the next months, according to the latest update from Sudan’s Plant Protection Directorate (PPD). Desert locusts’ swarms that had wreaked havoc in northern Kenya could migrate northwards across South Sudan to Sudan, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Although the risk of swarm invasions from neighbouring countries is lower than previously anticipated, the locusts could mature and lay eggs shortly after landing in Sudan due to the good breeding and survival conditions, following the forecast rains in Kordofan and Darfur regions.
Across the country, low numbers of mature adults are already present in the Nile Valley, near Kassala, and in White Nile and North Kordofan states, but no swarms have been detected. Control was carried out against local breeding the River Nile State, where some adults were present at the breeding areas south of Atbara and Shendi. Some mature adults have also been detected in north and south of Dongola in the Northern State, according to PPD.
In total, more than 100,000 hectares were surveyed during July at summer breeding areas in the River Nile, White Nile, Kassala, Gedaref, Blue Nile, North Kordofan, South Kordofan and Darfur states. This is the current situation:
Northern State: 6,100 ha infested, with solitary adults detected along the Nile Valley and cropping areas, where there is a prevailing green vegetation cover and soil moisture is wet.
River Nile State: 12,400 ha infested with solitary mature adults present in several locations, but no swarms formed; vegetation cover status is medium to dense green.
White Nile State: 11,800 ha were checked, where low number of adults detected in some locations. The vegetation cover is low dense green.
North Kordofan State: about 20,000 ha were intensively surveyed, where only low-density mature desert locust adults were seen in one location. The vegetation cover is almost dry.
South Kordofan State: 17,900 ha were covered in the breeding areas where no locusts were detected in all the surveyed areas.
West Kordofan and Darfur States: 12,100 ha were covered, no locusts were seen in all the surveyed areas. Dry condition is dominated in all surveyed areas.
Summer breeding areas at the Red Sea and Kassala states: 18,600 ha surveyed in both states. Although the dry condition is prevailing, low number of adults were seen in some locations.
Khartoum State: 2,300 ha surveyed, no locusts were reported in the surveyed areas. The vegetation cover is almost low dense green.
Desert Locust operations and funding
Although COVID-19 has impacted some of the desert locust operations across Sudan, at least 10 survey and control teams are carrying out activities in the field, according to the Locust Control Department of the Plant Protection Directorate. A training on locust operations was held in Ed Damer, River Nile State for 12 participants from 28 June to 4 July 2020.
Further five training sessions will be held in Medani, Gezira State; Kosti, White Nile State; El Obied, North Kordofan State; El Fasher, North Darfur State; and Sawakin, in the Red Sea State.
Thanks to the generous support from donors, FAO and partners managed to mobilize around US$6.4 million of the $9 million required to prevent an upsurge of the desert locusts in Sudan and safeguard livelihoods. The African Bank of Development, the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DfID), the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), FAO, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Sudan Humanitarian Fund and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) are the main supporters.