Panic has gripped residents and leaders of Kilifi County after swarms of desert locusts were spotted in parts of Magarini Sub County Thursday.
The County Food Security Steering Group (CSG) called an emergency meeting at a Kilifi club Friday afternoon to find a way of dealing with the destructive pests that have wreaked havoc in other parts of the country.
The meeting was expected to be jointly chaired by County Commissioner Kutswa Olaka and Kilifi County Executive Committee Member of Agriculture Luciana Sanzua with attendances from various government and nongovernmental organizations among them the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA).
Magarini Deputy County Commissioner Peter Thiong’o confirmed that the locusts had been spotted in various parts of the sub county, adding that officials from the Kilifi County Department of Agriculture had already toured and mapped the affected areas.
“It is true that the insects were spotted in various parts of Magarini. As I am speaking, I have elders from Marereni area who say they also saw them,” Mr. Thiong’o said on phone.
Residents who talked to the KNA said the pests had not yet destroyed crops and other plants but expressed fears that their invasion could trigger a famine crisis as the area mostly depends on agriculture.
Mr. Joshua Chome, a resident, urged the government to move very fast and prevent the locusts from destroying their crops.
“If the government does not move in quickly, this sub county could face an unprecedented famine,” Mr. Chome said.
County Executive Committee Member Luciana Sanzua also confirmed the presence of the insects and said that she had already dispatched a team of directors and other experts to assess the situation in a bid to take immediate remedial action.
By Emmanuel Masha