Locust plagues continue to swamp Eastern Africa.
In the last 24 hours, major news outlets reported that hundreds of billions of locusts now descend upon farms and communities in rural Eastern Africa. They have also touched down heavily in Pakistan, citing Radio Free Europe. Pakistan is faced with the worst plague of 30 years.
What do we know?
Farmers have tried chasing the locusts to no avail. Kitui county is approaching the planting season. The situation will lead to heavy food shortages if the locust swarm is not contained. Production starts in March in this area. Farmers, struggling to control the spread, will have their regular operations potentially stalled.
Anna Maina, of the Biodiversity and Biosafety Association of Kenya, spoke with TRT News and stated that Kenya was in a "desperate situation" but that some of the chemicals being used to beat back the locust plague are not "very good for the environment" nor particularly safe for people.
Firmrock Children's Helper is actively seeking to support local Kitui county to prevent the backlash from the locusts. Firmrock's campaign requires immediate action to push forward against the impact on food security.
What more do we know?
The government is maintaining a "brave face" as the situation with locusts is becoming a fearful one. The government has assured the country that the government is now ready to face the invasion a second time if the need should rise. Citizen television stated that experts who spoke with them have warned that containment efforts could take more than a year at current status.
Kenyan officials appear to be conducting a complex, three-stage plan and surveillance on Samburu and Kitui along with other areas to look for new swarms. Failing to control the Spring swarms could have other consequences. The pesticides that are being used for this swarm are restricted in Europe. Without the proper use training, these chemicals could be damaging to farmers and seeds in the planting season of March. The U.S. National Institute of Health has released a publication regarding the harmful effect pesticides can have on food plant seeds.
Citizen TV cited experts who stated that there is still some time before the impact on food security is felt. This is because locusts prefer to feast on natural vegetation. CS Munya stated that the "food baskets" were relatively safe but that there was "some destruction in the pastoral areas." These areas can still be rebuilt before severe impact to local food security if measures are taken stat.
More updates to come.