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Desert locusts likely headed to Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia

Friday January 24 2020

Locusts display at NMK

A display of locusts in this picture taken on January 9, 2020 at the National Museums of Kenya in Nairobi County. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Nairobi,

Desert locusts that have been causing havoc in the east and Horn of African region are likely to move to Uganda, South Sudan and southwest Ethiopia, a senior official at the Desert Locust Control Organization (DLCO) said on Friday.

Stephen Njoka, director-general of the DLCO, said the insects that were reported in northern Kenya in December 2019 are now moving toward Baringo and Turkana in south western Kenya.

"The risk of spread to the three countries is very high given the limited control activities in some countries, and the high mobility and reproductive potential of the locust," Njoka told journalists in Nairobi.

He said that DLCO had projected to stop the locusts from moving further to Baringo and Turkana counties, but it appears they may move further into Uganda, South Sudan and southwestern Ethiopia.

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The DLCO and its partners are well equipped with pesticides and aircraft ready to manage the fast-moving insects, Njoka said.

In addition to spraying, the partners have also trained relevant government officials from 20 counties in Kenya and will train additional teams next week, he said.

Bukar Tijani, United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization assistant director-general and regional representative for Africa, said desert locust invasion continues to threaten food security and livelihoods in the eastern African region.

Efforts are being made to control the swarms and safeguard people's livelihoods and food security, and avert further worsening of the food crisis, he said.

According to experts, large swarms of desert locusts continue to destroy crops and pastures across parts of Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya.