KAMPALA — Desert locusts, which have wreaked havoc in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, have on Sunday February 9 entered Uganda through the north-eastern Amudat District.
Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda has called a meeting of top technocrats and political leaders to activate emergency response.
Strange the insects chose a Sunday for their unwelcome arrival.
The locusts’ invasion poses food insecurity risk.
A statement from his office indicated that UPDF has assembled a team to assist the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Resources and Fisheries on ground spraying.
The team is on standby at Olilim Baracks.
OPM Disaster Department has delivered to Olilim Baracks the following to facilitate the spray teams: food (15 tons rice, 15 tons Maize flour); other logistics – (tents, sleeping mats, water containers, cooking, eating vessels, etc) while Uganda Wildlife Authority has assembled 85 personnel ready for deployment
“MAAIF has deployed surveillance teams in Moroto and Amudat, as well as rapidly delivering to Karamoja 100 back held motorised spray pumps and 200 manual hand spray pumps as more pumps get procured
Other measures include two hired air spray planes will be in Moroto as soon as possible, motorized sprayers mounted on pickups and tractors are being mobilized to move to Karamoja Subregion.
The Amudat District agricultural officer, Simon Peter Lodungokol, had earlier on Sunday said the locusts had reached 4km from the border at a place called Kiwawa in Kenya
“Dear colleagues at MAAIF and fellow Ugandans, the arrival of the Desert Locusts are now very eminent. I have just received a phone call from my staff on the ground that the Desert Locusts are reportedly just 4 km from the AMUDAT District Kenya border. They are currently in a place called Kiwawa in Kenya,” he had posted before the minister’s confirmation.
“The Desert Locusts are expected to reach Amudat in a matter of less than an hour and they are predicted to approach Amudat District through Abwalinga and Ngongosowon villages of AMUDAT Sub county and not Loroo Sub county as earlier on expected. I will keep you accordingly posted of the developments regarding the Desert Locusts impending disaster,” he added.
Last week, the MAAIF, said the government is stocking pesticides to fight desert locusts.
The government is banking on support from Desert Locust Control Organization for Eastern Africa (DLCO-EA) as the threat of desert locust invasion heightens.