Somaliland:More swarms may invade western parts, NERAD warns on locusts as it takes city by storm

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Above Ministry of Agriculture staff  loading pesticides used for the termination of locusts

By M.A. Egge

The country which has been  reeling against the fear of locust invasion, and steeling itself against the havoc they would leave in the spate of their wake, saw the city residents treated to a rude shock on Friday.

This was when large swarms flew over parts of Hargeisa and blanketed portions of areas in cloud films. Whenever they sojourned on trees their effects was vivid as it was chilling.

The city residents, most of them having never witnessed the scenario, stared agape.

Whereas the youth were naively mesmerized, the older folks held their fingers crossed while numbed with awe.

This brings us to the equally numbing revelation by the NERAD chief that there are expectations that larger swarms than the Friday fly-past were expected to invade the western parts of the country. Mr. Mohammed Muse Awale likewise disclosed the fact that his agency could not do anything about the situation.

Incidentally, the first warnings concerning the impending calamity were sounded in November last year.

Since then, the Agricultural minister Hon. F.E. Geedoole had frantically tried to do something hence control the plausible invasion but to no avail.

Now that it has come to pass, hence crippled with lack of technical capacity to fight the plague coupled with the compound negative international tentative control support, the horn region is left to put their hopes on fate.

The swarms of locust are getting out of control and would wreck havoc not only in SL but in the whole of the Horn region and other parts of the continent.

Hon. F.E. Geedoole had sounded a pessimistic warning that was so chilling to both the country and the region at large. Its effect have already affected the coastal areas and felt in areas spanning four regions.

“We have sent for SOS to Nairobi, Addis Ababa and even Cairo, but we have still yet received no support”, moaned the Agricultural Minister in a radio interview with the BBC.

Seriously enough, the Minister had all the rights of warning and being concerned because the repercussion of locust invasion is just quite well known in the region.

He was worried that the invaded areas were all grazing lands.

He revealed that they have already taken stoke of the situation and surveyed the extent of the infestation.

That siren of emergency help had been sent to Kenya, Ethiopia and Egypt but to no avail, are indeed not only mixed, but grave signals.

By the time some technocrats heeded the call, it was too little too late.

Hon. F.E. Geedole had announced that the expatriates from the international directorates  charged with the tasks of controlling desert locusts had 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.”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 wouldhave 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-adventlypoisoned”, 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. 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.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.The group was of course 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 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.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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