East Africa is facing a major new threat from locusts. A warning from the seven-nation?
CU Map of East Africa
SV Locusts on ground
GV Plane taking off and in flight spraying fields
SV Truck moving through locust infected area
LV INTERIOR Director of Operation Mohamed Abdi Ghelle speaking
SV Brain Barron talking to camera with shots of locusts moving along the ground and man spraying insecticide (4 shots)
BARRON: "This is the Lasdureh region of northern Somalia, across which locusts have migrated since Biblical times, and once again their numbers are dramatically increasing. Everyday a plane of the Locust Control Authority searches for the locust swarms, but with only one plane available for the whole of Somalia, and obsolescent and inadequate equipment, the locusts are proving elusive. They've been swept by high winds into the security of the mountains, where they breed every two months. Locusts are a major threat again because wars and guerrilla struggles in this part of Africa have stopped routine preventive measures."
MOHAMED ABDI GHELLE: "I think what aggravates the situation more than the locusts is the present hostility in the area, in eastern Africa, Eritrea and so on, which makes control of the plague really very, very difficult. Because you need quick movement of equipment and personnel across the borders, for as you know the locusts honour no borders, for as you don't need any passports and unless our movements are really free to go anywhere really locusts are potentially supposed to breed, I think it will be a long time before we reduce the plague or bring it to an insignificant size."
BARRON: "Here in Kenya, government officials say they're ready to cope with any locust emergency. This confidence seven nation Locust Control Authority. At the root of the problem is regional co-operation....or the lack of it. Brian Barron in East Africa."
REPORTER: BRIAN BARRON
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: East Africa is facing a major new threat from locusts. A warning from the seven-nation Locust Control Organisation says the African wars of the past few years have prevented routine measures to control the insects, which have been breeding in parts of Ethiopia and Somalia for hundreds of years. Now, officials in Somalia fear that bigger than usual swarms may move deeper into Africa, devastating the farmlands of Kenya and Tanzania. Brian Barron of the British Broadcasting Corporation filed this report from the area and spoke to the Director of Operations for locust control in Somalia, Mr. Mohamed Abdi Ghelle.