Desert Locust Sighted in Kitgum

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There is a lot of anxiety among local farmers in Acholi sub region following reports that desert locusts have been sighted in the region.

Authorities in Kitgum Municipality were on Monday thrown into panic after the discovery of a lone male desert locust on Monday.

In the neighboring district of Agago, leaders are anticipating locusts to arrive in the district in a matter of hours.

Swarms of desert locusts were on Monday evening sighted in Abim and Katakwi districts.

Abim district, located in Karamoja sub region borders Kapelebyong/ Amuria districts in Teso Sub Region and Otuke/Agago districts in Lango Sub Region.

Kitgum district leaders have since held an emergency meeting to boost their preparation in handling an invasion of the locusts.

William Komakech, the Kitgum RDC says the Ministry of Agriculture have been informed of the discovery of the desert locust in the district.

Uganda last had desert locusts in the late 1960s and the current invasion is linked to climate change.

A typical desert locust swarm can contain up to 150 million locusts per square kilometre.

A swarm can destroy as much food crops in a day as is sufficient to feed 2,500 people.

meanwhile, countries in the Horn of Africa are in a race against time to tackle a Desert Locust invasion amidst ongoing humanitarian challenges, the United Nations has warned.

The observation came just a day after swarms crossed into Uganda, through the North-Eastern Districts of Amudat and Nakaporipirit from neighboring Kenya.

The infestation in Uganda also puts Tanzania and South Sudan on the watch list, according to Mark Lowcock, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator.

Lowcock, was addressing journalists alongside Dominique Burgeon, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Director of Emergencies, and Keith Cressman, FAO’s Senior Locust Forecasting Officer.

He said that the infestation in Kenya is the worst in 70 years, while Somalia and Ethiopia are experiencing their worst outbreaks in 25 years, putting crop production, food security and millions of lives at risk.

The locust threat comes as the region is recovering from what Lowcock described as recent “back-to-back shocks” which have undermined resilience, with some 19 million people at risk of experiencing severe food insecurity.

An average swarm, which contains up to 40 million insects, can travel up to 150 km in a single day and can devour enough food to feed 34 million people within that time.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recently launched a USD 76 million appeal to control the locusts’ spread.

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