At least 13 swarms of desert locusts invade Mandera in one week

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Tuesday November 09, 2021 - 11:28:40 in News In English by Xarunta Dhexe
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    At least 13 swarms of desert locusts invade Mandera in one week

    At least thirteen swarms of locusts have invaded Mandera County since November 1, when the pests were first sighted.

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At least thirteen swarms of locusts have invaded Mandera County since November 1, when the pests were first sighted.
 


Mandera County Locust Focal Officer Diisow Noor Haji said the locusts have used three different routes to settle in the county from neighbouring countries of Ethiopia and Somalia.

The three are Mandera North from Ethiopia, Mandera East and Lafey from Somalia.

According to the officer, the first swarm that landed in Ramu Dimtu arrived from Ethiopia on November 1 and ravaged vegetation in parts of Mandera North and Banisa Sub counties before being blown back into Ethiopia.

On the same day, other two swarms were sighted in Mandera west Sub County from Ethiopia.

"Locusts rely on wind direction and on that day we had winds blowing into Mandera from Ethiopia,” Mr Haji said.

Other two swarms were reported in Lafey sub-county along the Kenya Somalia common border on November 2.

"Due to insecurity in Lafey, our officers could not pick the coordinates to report but local chiefs and our scouts on the ground reported the invasion,” he said.

Areas of Sheikh Barrow, Damasa, Warankara and Fino in Mandera East Sub-county reported a locust invasion on November 6.

On Sunday, three more swarms landed on farms in Yabicho and Rhamu Dimtu in Mandera North from Ethiopia. In Mandera east, a swarm was sighted from Somalia.

"We have been sensitising our community on the dangers of the desert locust invasion and how to report on the same. We are getting very little help from the national government,” Mr Haji said.

He revealed that the county has at least 10,000 litres of assorted chemicals to spray against the locusts but lacks special sprayers.

"We need to have special sprayers called missed blowers to be used in spraying these chemicals. None of these swarms has been controlled,” he said.

Farms along the river and land under irrigation are the most affected in the current swarm invasion in Mandera County.


Since they are millions in numbers and spread over such a large area, locusts damage anything that comes in their way, mostly the green vegetation or crops.

A swarm covering just a square kilometre could damage up to a 100 tonne of crops daily according to experts.

An adult desert Locust can consume roughly its own weight in fresh food per day that is about two grams every day. A swarm occupying a square kilometre piece of land has about 40 million locusts.

Desert locusts, according to experts, depend on the movement of wind and currently the monsoon winds are blowing from Kenya and Somalia towards the Middle East.

Somalia, Ethiopia and Yemen are among counties still reporting desert locust invasion and change of direction by wind puts Kenya at risk.

Monsoon winds usually change direction in November, blowing from the Arabian Peninsula to East Africa.

Experts have since warned that failure to control the desert locusts by neighbouring countries puts Kenya at risk.


Akhrise hoos kadhiibo fikirkaaga


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