SEEKING HELP

Locust invasion: NE leaders appeal for State help

The locusts have already invaded Mandera and parts of Wajir and are fast spreading to other counties in the region.

In Summary

•Northeastern leaders appeal for the intervention of the government and the international community to contain the devastating locusts.

•Led by Eldas MP Adan Keynan, they warned that the economy of the entire region will tumble if the insects are not contained in a month

Northeastern leaders during a press conference at Parliament on December 31, 2019, on locusts invasion.
Northeastern leaders during a press conference at Parliament on December 31, 2019, on locusts invasion.
Image: EZEKIEL AMING'A

A section of Northeastern leaders has appealed for the intervention of the government and the international community to contain the devastating swarms of desert locusts that have invaded the region.

Led by Eldas MP Adan Keynan, the leaders warned that the economy of the entire region will tumble if the insects are not contained within a month.

They said the locusts will destroy the livelihoods of the residents – mostly pastoralists – as the insects are already damaging vegetation which is relied upon by their livestock.

 
 

“Our appeal is to the government and other international agencies to provide aerial sprays drones. That is the only effective way because pesticides is what we used to use and are obsolete,” Keynan said.

Addressing a press conference in Parliament Buildings on Tuesday, they said the  locusts have already invaded Mandera and parts of Wajir and are fast spreading to other counties in the region.

“The challenge that we have is that they are sweeping the whole region. Part of south western Somalia is affected. Two days ago, they were in Mandera and yesterday, they were in parts of Wajir,” he said.

He called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to order the Cabinet Secretaries in charge of Devolution, Agriculture and Environment to swiftly swing into action and stop the spread of the insects.

“When we continue to talk and not take action, then all the vegetation that is there for livestock growth and production will be completely destroyed and these communities that rely on livestock will certainly be depending on relief and other support mechanisms,” Wajir South MP Mohammed Sheikh said.

The leaders lamented about the lack of government’s preparedness combat the ruinous insects despite early warnings by the United Nations that they would spread to the country after they hit Ethiopia and Somalia.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has last month warned that the desert locusts would spread to other Eastern African counties including Kenya, Eritrea, South Sudan and Djibouti if early interventions were not taken.

 
 

“It is apparent that there is total lack of national and county preparedness. During the colonial time, we used to have locust control unit which used to come along with livestock marketing division. These things are no more,” Keynan said.

Tarbaj MP Ahmed Bashane said, “This is a problem that we know was coming four months ago. It started in Ethiopia and it has gone to many other counties”

Mandera Senator Mohamed Mohamud termed the locusts’ invasion as a serious problem and an international disaster that should be combated jointly by the national government and the international communities.  

“This is a disaster that we have to deal with now or the livelihood and lives of our people will be destroyed,” he said.

Wajir Senator Ali Hassan blamed corruption in the national and county governments for the lack of preparedness to combat the locusts.

“While are appealing on the locust issue, I would also urge our counties to work because none of them is functional right now because they are on holidays. Why can’t these counties, which have funds, do anything? What have they done so far?” he posed.