Situation Report

Desert locust swarms invade southern parts of the Red Sea coast through Sudanese-Eritrean border

Two immature desert locust swarms invaded the southern parts of the Red Sea coast through the Sudanese-Eritrean border, according to the latest update from Sudan’s Plant Protection Directorate (PPD). According to the PPD desert locust situation in the Horn of Africa report, more swarms are expected to invade the southern Red Sea coast in Sudan. 

Survey operations continue at the winter breeding areas where, mature or immature adults of low density were detected in several locations along the Red Sea coast. Meanwhile, some irrigated agricultural scheme locations in summer breeding areas near Dongola in the Northern State were surveyed, with no locust identified. The total surveyed area was 9,000 hectares and high wind speed delayed the control operations. 

The ecological conditions remain favorable for desert locust breeding at the southern part of the Red Sea coast, especially in Toker Delta, with the prevalence of green vegetation reported. As a result, PPD highlights the urgent need for close monitoring at the southern parts of the Red Sea coast. 

The most recent desert locust update from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that there are late instar hopper band, fledglings and immature adult groups and swarm on the southern coast of the Red Sea near the Eritrea border. There are also scattered adults in Tokar Delta, the northeast and in the Nile Valley. 

For response in Sudan, FAO has requested US$9 million to support control measures, safeguard livelihoods and promote early recovery. This is in addition to the appeal calling for $138 million for rapid response and anticipatory action in the Greater Horn of Africa. 

FAO has so far mobilized $1.55 million, including $1 million from the Sudan Humanitarian Fund (SHF). The United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID) announced they will provide an additional $2 million to the SHF, which will be used for the desert locust response. 

Earlier, this month the World Food Programme (WFP) donated four 4x4 vehicles to the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources to be used for desert locust surveillance and control operations. These vehicles will be used by PPD after they are registered and paperwork on licensing is finalised by the Sudanese authorities. 

According to FAO, the desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria) is the most destructive migratory pest in the world. In response to environmental stimuli, dense and highly mobile Desert Locust swarms can form. They are ravenous eaters who consume their own weight every day, targeting food crops and forage. A single square kilometer of 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. For more information on deserts oin East Africa please see