The locust invasion that has ravaged vegetation and crops in parts of Somalia and the Kenyan counties of Garissa, Mandera and Wajir for a few weeks now has shown few signs of abating; in recent days, the pests have spread to Isiolo and Meru Counties.
Residents of Ndumuru in Igembe North, Meru County have reported spotting several colonies of the destructive pests in the area. More swarms of the locusts have also invaded neighbouring Garbatulla and Merti areas in Isiolo County.
Meru County’s biggest export is Miraa, known internationally as khat. Trade and export of the stimulant plant is a billion shilling industry and there are fears from farmers that the locusts will decimate the cash crop.
Kenyans have called upon the government, through the National Disaster Operatioins Center under the Ministry of Interior to intervene urgently to curb the spread of the pestilence. In response, the ministry says it has set in motion plans for aerial spraying of the affected regions.
Speaking to News Central, governement spokesperson, Col. (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna said, “the government has deployed both hand-held sprayers and aerial spraying capabilities to the counties. There are also ground controls teams that have equally been deployed to the counties. As of today, the counties affected are Wajir, Mandera, Marsabit, Garissa, Meru, and Isiolo. Large swarms have been sprayed in Wajir and Marsabit.”