LIBERIA: Caterpillars Invade Salayea, Zorzor Districts

Reports from Lofa County say caterpillars have invaded Salayea and Zorzor Districts in the county. According to the report, the invasion has, however, not reached alarming proportion. According to the Liberia News Agency Lofa Correspondent, in an apparent effort to prevent the invasion from spreading, a joint team of representatives from the Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-information Services (LISGIS), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Lofa and the Ministry of Agriculture on June 13, began spraying the affected towns and villages.

The towns and villages that were sprayed include Lamai and Suenamai Villages and Ganglota Town as well as some farms around these towns and villages.

Meanwhile, the Agriculture Ministry has advised citizens of the affected communities to brush around their towns and villages, cut down the cotton trees and have them burnt and avoid using water from polluted creeks and rivers.

At the same time, citizens have thanked the joint team, especially the Ministry of Agriculture, for the swift action taken to combat the caterpillars, and called on government to fully support the Ministry before pests reach alarming proportion.

According to the head of the EPA Lofa Inspectorate, Stephen M. Gibson, the agency decided to join the Ministry of Agriculture to spray the affected areas because the entity is charged with the responsibility to protect, sustain and conserve the environment.

Inspector Gibson said they are prepared to create awareness about the chemicals being used, and cautioned inhabitants of the affected areas to avoid drinking, washing and bathing with water from affected creeks and rivers.

In a related development, unconfirmed reports also speak of caterpillars been discovered in Yasalahun Town in the Hembeh Clan, Kolahun District.

Zorzor District Commissioner Henry Wolobah disclosed that Zealakpallah in Gizzima Clan and Worlowumo in Buluyeama Clan and several villages are among areas affected by the pests.

He pointed out that the caterpillars are destroying crops and polluting water sources, noting that if nothing is done urgently, it could impede farming and other economic activities in the district.

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