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Swarm of desert locust spotted in Juba

By Sheila Ponnie

A swarm of locust was spotted in Juba over the weekend.

On Saturday evening, the desert locust could be seen flying in the sky of Juba but disappeared over the night.

It is not clear where the locust had gone. The authorities are yet to issue statement.

According to the Igad Climatic Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC), climatic conditions continue to be suitable for desert locust development especially in South Sudan, Ethiopia, northern Kenya, Somalia and southern Eritrea and Djibouti.

The ICPAC statement further stated that South Sudan falls under high risk due to favorable forecasted temperatures, suitable for desert locust reproduction and development.

It says the wind direction which greatly determines swarm movement is forecasted to blow to northern Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania.

The locust first entered Magwi County through Uganda.

It is closed to 60 years when the locusts entered the territory of the then Southern Sudan in 1961 and destroyed crops resulting in to wide spread  famine in the region.

The desert locusts have been laying eggs along migratory path expected to hatch in the coming weeks, giving ground to second round of invasion, according to forecast.

Under a worse-case scenario, the desert locust will invade key production areas bread –baskets of the region and cause significant crop losses during the March to May cropping season, and could potentially worsen the food security situation, according the forecast released by ICPAC.

Some swamps have now reached northern Tanzania and north-eastern Ugandan and have already reached South Sudan

As swarms increased in some countries in the region Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya, others continue to lay eggs, and hatching is certainly underway in many places such as in Sudan according to the forecast.

It further forecasted that breeding during February will cause a further increase in hopper bands in these countries in March and April, a time of planting and growth of crops.

Climatic and ecological conditions suitable for locust reproduction and development are very favorable in most parts of northwestern Kenya, eastern to central Uganda and northern to western Tanzania.

“These areas face the highest risk of new swamp’s invasion.”

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