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Lango Leaders Panic Amid Locust Invasion Threat

The panic started after reports that swarms of desert locusts had been sighted in Abim district on Monday evening. The district located in Karamoja sub-region borders Kapelebyong and Amuria in Teso and Otuke and Agago in Lango Sub Region.

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The invasion of the desert locusts in parts of Karamoja and Teso has triggered panic among residents of Lango, an area that shares a common border with the infested region. 

The panic started after reports that swarms of desert locusts had been sighted in Abim district on Monday evening.  The district located in Karamoja sub-region borders Kapelebyong and Amuria in Teso and Otuke and Agago in Lango Sub Region. 

The desert locusts invaded the Karamoja sub-region on Sunday evening through Amudat district, with the first swarm entering from West Pokot through Kosike in Karita Sub County towards Nakapiripirit and Nabilatuk areas. Another swarm came from Turkana County, Loima District in Kenya to Nakabaat in Rupa Sub County. 

On Monday morning, Government sent 18,000 litres of chemicals to Amudat District in Karamoja sub-region to aid the aerial spraying of locusts.  The government is using motorized sprayers, a drone and manual sprayers, to control the migratory pests. 

However, Lango sub-region leaders that many of them may not have the capacity to deal with the threat. Dokolo District Agricultural Officer Geoffrey Okaka says the district is relying on the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Disaster Preparedness to tackle the locusts.

//Cue in; “That thing is still… 

Cue out… to the invasion.”//    

Alebtong District chairperson Okello John Bosco is equally worried that the region will certainly face food insecurity once the locusts enter the areas. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation-FAO, 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.  

//Cue in; “Because now my… 

Cue out… have an emergency meeting.”//  

Lira District Agricultural Officer Dorcus Alum says the District lacks equipment and chemicals to handle an invasion of that magnitude.    

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Cue out… ministry is prepared.”//  

Lango sub-region has a total of nine Districts; Alebtong, Amolatar, Apac, Dokolo, Kole, Lira, Oyam, Otuke and    Kwania. Of these Dokolo, Alebtong and Otuke are the most threatened because they are closer to Karamoja.   As of Tuesday morning, stakeholders in Alebtong District were set to have an emergency meeting to discuss how to handle the desert locusts in their District.   

//Cue in; “Just like Karamoja… 

Cue out… from Karamoja region.”//    

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recently launched a USD 76 million appeals to control the locusts' spread.  So far, only around USD 20 million has been received; roughly half of which came from a UN emergency fund.

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