Scare as experts warn locust destruction likely to hit entire country

Entomologists Association of Kenya members Esther Kioko (from left) Association's cordinator George Ong'amo and Prof John Nderitu from UON's faculty of Agriculture during their presser on current situation of the Locusts infestation in Mandera County. [Elvis Ogina/Standard]
Experts have warned that the entire country faces an imminent threat from desert locusts now wreaking havoc in northern Kenya.

Entomologists issued the warning yesterday after a meeting in Nairobi.

They disclosed that the destructive insects were not confined to arid and semi-arid areas alone, as the name of the species suggests.

The experts said the matter was not getting adequate attention because many Kenyans mistakenly believed the locusts were in the country for a while before they could retreat to their typical desert habitat.

SEE ALSO :Leaders warn of crisis as locusts raid region

Moments after the meeting by experts under Entomologists Association of Kenya umbrella, reports emerged that the swarm of locusts had been spotted in Meru and Isiolo counties, a matter that seemed to further confirm their fears.

First invasion

The fears were also expressed on Tuesday in a preliminary report by Mandera County Government, indicating that barely a day after the locusts were first spotted on December 28 at three sites in the county, they had spread to 20 other sites. By Tuesday, the county documented that the spread had hit 78 sites.

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Other counties that have been confirmed to have been affected are Wajir and Marsabit.

Ten experts, led by their coordinator George Ong’amo, (above), and Chair John Kasina, said the real threat was the rate at which the insects were breeding, which threatened to increase the swarms faster. They said the expansion was likely to prompt the insects to stretch to other counties and cause further devastation.

SEE ALSO :County official dismisses senator’s claims of graft in Wajir

The entomologists said aerial spraying currently being employed, though not posing any major health threat to locals and livestock, was not effective if used alone unless focus on long-term approaches was made.

They also faulted locals for dispersing the insects, saying the method was only stretching the problem to other regions and making intervention more complicated.

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Locust invasion