Nairobi — The United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization on Friday announced that new swarms of locusts from Somalia and Ethiopia have been sighted in Kenya.
First generation hopper bands are also said to have hatched in Northern and Eastern parts of the country, specifically Samburu (134 sites), Isiolo (28), Tharaka Nithi (16), Kitui (14), Turkana (4), Marsabit (3), Garissa (2) and Embu (1) counties.
Kenya is already struggling to contain locust swarms in more than 20 counties since January.
As part of measures to control the desert locusts, the government in collaboration with Food and Agriculture Organization and other stakeholders has deployed four aircraft for aerial spraying and four others to monitor the movement of the swarms.
On Friday, the government said it had received three additional aircraft from FAO to help manage the situation. This brings the total number of aircraft delivered to the country to five, providing a much-needed boost to the Desert Locust control efforts.
The aircraft were received by Principal Secretary for State Department for Crops Development and Agriculture Research, Prof. Hamadi Boga, who said they will be deployed to Isiolo, Turkana and Marsabit desert locust control bases.
Speaking at the handover, FAO Representative to Kenya Dr. Tobias Takavarasha lauded what he described as "encouraging donor response to the crisis that is affecting Kenya and seven other countries in the Greater Horn of Africa.
FAO has committed to continue supporting Kenya towards containing the spread of the swarms, which are threatening the country's food basket.
According to FAO, more than 3.1 million people are facing acute food insecurity in the semi-arid areas of the country, hence the need to step up mitigating measures.
The swarms were first reported in the country in December last year and have perched on vegetation in Samburu, Isiolo, Marsabit, Mandera, Kitui, Tharaka Nithi, Garissa, Laikipia, Wajir, Embu, Turkana, Baringo, West Pokot, Makueni, Kajiado, Tana River, Machakos, Elgeiyo Marakwet, Uasin Gishu, Kirinyaga, Meru, Nakuru, Murang'a, Nyeri, Trans Nzoia and Bungoma.