KATAKWI, UGANDA – There is panic in the Teso and Lango sub regions in after swams of desert locusts were spotted in Katakwi and Agago districts.
The desert locusts invaded the Karamoja sub region from Kenya on Sunday evening through Amudat district. The first swarm came from West Pokot through Kosike in Karita Sub County and flew towards Nakapiripirit and Nabilatuk areas. Another swarm came from Turkana County, Loima District in Kenya to Nakabaat in Rupa Sub County.
‘The swam in Abim is the same one that moved from the district of Amudat to that of Nabilatuk on Sunday. The swam that has made its way to Katakwi is believed to have come from the direction of Napak District,” said Martin Owor a Commissioner in the Department of Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Management of the Uganda Office of the Prime Minister.
On Monday, Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) helicopters airlifted insecticides and handheld sprayers to Karamoja to be used in the control of the locusts.
State Minister for Agriculture Aggrey Bagiire, however allayed fears that the chemicals to be used may be dangerous to human beings, crops or animals.
“These are the usual insecticides used in the control of plant pests like cypermethrine,” Bagiire told journalists at Kololo Airstip as the loading of the equipment was going on.
Bagiire explained that they have dispatched both manual and automatic pumps to Karamoja and said most of the hand spraying will be done in the early morning and evenings before the locusts fly in swarms since at time they rise as far as 2,000 metres in the air.
The spokesman of the UPDF, Brig. Richard Karemire said that the deployment of 2,000 UPDF soldiers to help in the fight against the locusts has started. The officers have been undergoing training from Aswa – Lolim.
State Minister for Relief and Disaster Preparedness Musa Francis Ecweru and Minister for animal industry Bright Rwamirama are already in Nairobi to negotiate for aircraft from the Desert Locust Control Organisation of East Africa to support in aerial spraying of the locusts.