A new wave of the desert locust invasion currently destroying crops and pastures in northern Kenya threatens to spiral out of control, having spread to more than 15 counties in the country. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) reported immature swarms in northern and central counties, and in Kilifi County in the upper Coast region. There are a few small immature swarms formed from previous breeding in the coastal region near Lamu and probably in adjacent areas of southern Somalia. But as many swarms are highly mobile and the same swarm can be sighted several times.
Some were spotted in parts of the Rift Valley region, the country's breadbasket. The swarms of locusts now threaten the livelihoods of millions of people in Kenya as the conflicts in Yemen, Somalia and northern Ethiopia make it difficult for FAO to control the breeding and movement of the pests at the source. FAO attributes the upsurge of locusts to favourable breeding grounds in these countries. "We are having a second wave because of the favourable breeding weather conditions in Ethiopia and Somalia," said Hamisi Williams, assistant FAO representative in Kenya. "Yemen seems to be a gateway to the Horn of Africa because when the southerly winds begin to blow, locusts cross over the Red Sea to the Horn of Africa," said Mr Williams.
In the Horn of Africa, immature swarms continue to migrate southwards from breeding areas in eastern Ethiopia and central Somalia to southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya. FAO reports that a few immature swarms reached the Mwanga district in northeast Tanzania on January 8, 2021. In Ethiopia, immature swarms are concentrating along the eastern side of the Harar Highlands in the Oromia region as they move to southern areas of the country, including southern parts of the Rift Valley. There are also cross-border movements near Jijiga and northwest Somalia and along the southern border with Kenya.