The government has ditched shooting in the air to scare locusts that have ravaged northern Kenya for aerial sprays, its spokesman has said.
State Spokesman Cyrus Oguna today said they have acquired 3000 litres of chemical for the exercise to curb the insect invasion.
“The chemicals were acquired a week ago and have been dispatched to the affected counties. The government also acquired aerial spray capability. The spraying will start today,” he said in an address from his Nairobi office.
Swarms of desert locusts invaded Wajir, Marsabit and Mandera countries from neighbouring Somalia a week ago.
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Oguna said that an aircraft is in Wajir where the exercise will begin.
The spraying will be guided by ground locust support teams which have been deployed in the region.
He added that handheld sprayers and protective gears have also been distributed in the region affected by the menace.
Oguna ruled out any effects of the chemicals on public health.
“We wish to assure that the chemicals to be used to spray have been registered and authorized for the control of locusts hence not harmful if used according to the guidelines,” he said.
He added that he will brief the public tomorrow on the spraying progress.
According to Oguna, the locusts invaded Kenya from Somalia on December 28 last year.
Residents of the affected counties had resorted to desperate means, including shouting, whistling and striking with objects to combat the locusts. Others prayed by reciting the Koran.
Their efforts were fruitful and swarm left.
However, their relief did not last long as a second swarm, which a Wajir County agricultural official told a local daily was thrice the first one, returned.
The government responded by deploying police officers to the affected areas to shoot in the air and scare away the locusts.