As swarms of desert locusts continued to advance in Kenya, Catholic leaders urged local communities to use all means possible to fight the herbivorous insects – even cooking them.
Local communities have been beating metal pans, blowing whistles, honking motorcycles and burning cow dung to smoke away the insects, as government help took too long to arrive or became limited, Church leaders said. Other Kenyans chanted day and night to scare away the insects.
“We have been encouraging them use anything at their disposal to scare away the locusts. The destructive insects do not like noise. The people are very persistent in creating as much noise as possible,” said Fr Isaac Racho, vicar general of Marsabit Diocese. “The swarms that landed here last week have moved away, but after much destruction. We still remain on the alert.”
A large immature swarm that made a landfall in the northeastern county of Mandera on 28th December has spread south to several counties. Recently, one immature swarm in northern Kenya had occupied an area measuring 37 miles long by nearly 25 miles wide.
The emergence of the migratory insects has triggered fear among East African farmers, since the locusts threaten food crops and animal pastures.
Picture: Peter Maganjo and Isaac Ndung’U, farmers in Kirinyaga County in central Kenya, look at a young locust swarm on 13th January 2020. Ndung’u said his children had alerted him to the locusts, which had settled on his fence. (CNS photo/Fredrick Nzwili).