Desert locusts reappear in Eastern Equatoria State

Desert locusts reappear in Eastern Equatoria State
21 January 2020, Lekiji, Samburu County, near Wamba – A motorcyclist driving through a desert locust swarm in Kenya. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned that the desert locust swarms that have already reached Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia could spill over into more countries in East Africa destroying hundreds of thousands of acres of crops.

A swarm of desert locusts has invaded a section of Lafon County, Eastern Equatoria State, sending panic among the residents, who are predominantly farmers.

Residents who spoke to The City Review said it had been one week since the locusts reappeared in the area after invading and destroying the farms.

Kasiano Logie Peter, a resident of Arilo Payam in Lafon County, said most of the crops have been destroyed by the desert locusts.

“I cannot actually estimate it (loss) at the moment because [there are only] a few farms left. I am sure they will even enter those [other farms] if there is no intervention,” he said.

“They came from the side of the Kapoeta North County and entered the farms, and what’s in the farms at the moment is not yet ready for harvest,” Peter said.

He appealed for an urgent intervention from the state government to help curb the locusts from destroying the crops.

“I am worried about hunger, let it not be like last year, when people were forced to flee to Juba and many people lost children to abduction.”

“So we need our government and the partners to take urgent measures for these locusts because only [it is only] a few people will harvest, and we are worried of hunger,” Peter said.

The area commissioner, Magisto Ukach, confirmed the invasion of locusts but said he had not confirmed the exact number of the farms destroyed.

He said the poor telecommunications network in Lafon had made it hard for him to get good reports.

“For sure there is no good report I am finding about the number of farms destroyed in the area due to poor network,” said Ukach.

The chairperson for the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC) in the state, Augustine Okuma, said the authorities will convene an emergency meeting for all the partners to mobilise resources.

He urged humanitarian agencies to mobilise resources to support the affected population in the area as a team will be sent to assess the situation.

The desert locusts have wreaked havoc in parts of Northern Kenya, parts of Somalia and Ethiopia in recent years.