NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 10 – The government on Friday appealed to Kenyans in locust-infested counties to share images of insects they suspect to be locusts to bolster ongoing efforts to contain the invasion.
Locusts have so far been sighted in Isiolo, Marsabit and Mandera counties, with Agriculture and Livestock Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri refuting claims of an invasion in Meru.
He asked residents in affected counties to upload images of insects they suspect to be locusts for verification by the ministry.
“If you see any locusts, , take a picture and post on social media so we can confirm for you and alert local radio stations as well as local chiefs that way we will be able to verify through our command center,” he said.
Kiunjuri said the government had deployed two helicopters to help spray the insects in an ongoing locust control campaign.
He however noted that the aerial teams had encountered challenges spraying swarms of locusts during the day when the insects are mostly mobile.
“It has been difficult to fight and prevent their migration as they have been trans-boundary pests that must have be fought with strategy” Kiunjuri said.
A mutli-stakeholders team has been set up to deal with the locust invasion in the country and will deal with the pandemic in Isiolo, Samburu, Embu,Tharaka-Nithi,Garissa,Laikipia and Meru, which have been classified as high risk counties.
He highlighted Kenyans must be on alert as not all grasshoppers are desert locusts.
“Be aware not all grasshoppers are desert locusts, for example those sited in Meru and Machakos are long-horned variegated grasshoppers that are normally with us,” he stated.
The Dessert Locust Control Organization of Eastern Africa a regional body based in Ethiopia has supported in mobilizing the aircrafts and financial resources.
Kiunjuri assured Kenyans in two weeks’ time they would have contained the matter.