‘Locusts that were in Machakos County flew away yesterday jioni’- Alfred Mutua


'Locusts that were in Machakos County flew away yesterday jioni'- Alfred Mutua

In Summary

  • FAO warned in a report on Monday that locusts were continuing to breed in the Horn of Africa.
  • There are fears that this could lead to more insects in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya, with new swarms forming in March and April.
  •  If left unchecked, their numbers could grow up to 500 times before drier weather arrives, they say.

Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua now claims that locust swarms that had invaded the county have flown away.

According to him, the locusts left the county on Monday evening.

“So far, our surveillance has not spotted them in the county. Please let me know if they have landed anywhere in our county so that we can ACT FAST,” Mutua wrote Twitter.

However on Tuesday morning, some locusts were spotted in Mbuani, Katanga and Kola viilages in Kola location.

Residents were seen trying to chase away a swarm of yellow colored locusts which have invaded their maize farms.

One of the locusts spotted inside the maize farm on Tuesday. PHOTO | DOUGLAS MUTISO
One of the locusts spotted inside the maize farm on Tuesday. PHOTO | DOUGLAS MUTISO
Women trying to chase the locusts from their farm on Tuesday. PHOTO | DOUGLAS MUTISO
Women trying to chase the locusts from their farm on Tuesday. PHOTO | DOUGLAS MUTISO

 

Locust swarms invaded Machakos towards the end of January this year at Kivaa Ward in Masinga.

The dreaded insects later moved to Yataa sub-county and other areas.

After a few days, residents of Embu, Kitui and Murang’a counties also spotted the locusts.

The Kenyan Government maintains that the situation is under control with the relevant agencies tasked with aerial surveillance and spraying.

Reuters has since reported that the swarm of locusts is now in Uganda.

The pests are said to have entered Uganda in the northeastern region of Karamoja on Sunday.

“We are using motorised sprayers, a drone and manual sprayers,” Stephen Byantwale, commissioner for crop protection at the ministry of agriculture told Reuters.

“They (locusts) are spreading like wildfire, so they are a real, major threat.”

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned in a report on Monday that locusts were continuing to breed in the Horn of Africa.

There are fears that this could lead to more insects in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya, with new swarms forming in March and April.

“There is an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods in the region,” the U.N. agency said.

U.N. officials warn that immediate action is needed before more rainfall in the weeks ahead brings fresh vegetation to feed new generations of locusts.

If left unchecked, their numbers could grow up to 500 times before drier weather arrives, they say.

“There is the risk of a catastrophe,” U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock told a briefing in New York on Monday.

Without enough aerial spraying to stop the swarms, the locust outbreak could turn into a plague, “and when you have a plague, it takes years to control,” Dominique Burgeon, emergency and resilience director with FAO, told The Associated Press last week.

Report by Tony Ndung’u, Douglas Mutiso, Reuters and VOA

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