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

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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
country 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.
Geedoole 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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