Somaliland: Response is too Little too Late for Desert Locust Control Expats


Desert Locusts devastate Coastal regions of Somaliland

By:M.A. Egge

HARGEISA-(Somalilandsun): The Agricultural Minister Hon. F.E. Geedole has revealed that the expatriates from the international directorates  charged with the tasks of controlling desert locusts have arrived in the country, however, perhaps too late to save the situation; that is after unheeding to various SOS signals sent to them since
last year.

Hon. Geedole made the announcements at brief to the parliament on Monday during the morning session whereby he made it quite clear that swarms of armyworms have already made their entry in a big and heavy way along the hundreds of
kilometers on the country’s coastal area.

“The best part where the locust infestation would have easily has been controlled is gone since the eggs they left have already hatched into larvae (armyworms)”,said the minister. He was definitely meaning that spraying by air which would
have otherwise been effective with the flying adult insects has now been rendered in-effective for it has been overtaken by events.

“To spray them now is quite dangerous since the pastures would be in-advently
poisoned”, he said.

The ountry which was reeling against the fear of impending swarms of locust getting out of control is now sadly seething under the havoc it has wrecked.

Hon. eedoole had sounded a quite chilling and pessimistic warning, which sadly again, has come to pass; moreover its effect has already affected larger area than the original one felt in areas spanning four regions.

The minister has for more than two occasions sent officials to evaluate the situation and assess the damage left in the wake of the locusts, and subsequently, armyworms infestation.

In December last year had moaned in a BBC radio interview that “we have sent for SOS to Nairobi, Addis Ababa and even Cairo, but we have still yet received no support”.

It was not a secret that that SL was left to the mercy of nature and has its wounds now to lick and let heal by itself. The minister was categorical that no one responded to our cries, and heeding the call now may be too little too late.

“We are scheduled to meet with the officials from Rome, Addis Ababa and Cairo tomorrow (Tuesday) and we’ll what goes next”, Hon. Geedole told the parliamentarians who attended the House session.

The group would of course be expected to take stoke of the situation on ground and survey the extent of the infestation.

Initially it was two hundred kilometers along the coast, from Hagal in eastern Berbera, throughout Kalbarre in Togdeer and all along to Asha Addo in Loyaddo that had been invaded, but has now extended as far as Las Qoray.

The main worry is that the invaded areas are all pasture and grazing lands.

Ironically, Hargeisa happened to be a central command of desert locusts monitoring, control and management technical station with all accessories for the tasks in ready supplies hence whereof missions were catapulted.

The Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) runs auspices to combat this problem known as the Desert Locust Control Committee (DLCC).

Igad was originally formed as IGADD to fight against desert and desertification, pinning anti-locust squadron at the heart of its policies before its priorities were re-aligned.

History of the area as concerns locusts that cause havoc by accelerating desertification tenfold in the Horn region and parts of Saharan Africa emanates from our corner of the world.

Sighting of the locusts were first seen by members of the public and pastoralists in Selal region in the middle of last month (November) immediately after the rainfall whose storm caused untold human and livestock suffering in the area as
well as washing away buildings in its floods.

They first reported it to the Minister of Resettlement Hon. Ahmed Abdi Kahin when he had led a team which went to distribute basic necessities to the affected in the region.

The Minister had then gone public on the locust issue sounding the first serious sirens of the warning.

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