Caterpillar Invasion Intensifies In Lofa And Gbarpolu Counties… Water Sources Polluted As Major Crops Destroyed

By Eldred Thomas

catLatest reports from both Lofa and Gbarpolu counties say citizens in several towns and villages are said to be using their own precautionary measure as their battle renewed outbreak of caterpillars.

According to the report the caterpillar invasion has intensified in the two counties since it was reported in the media that these dangerous insets have resurfaced and are destroyed crops, and polluting water in the affected areas.

According to report, these worms have invaded and affected eight towns in Salayea district one hundred kilometers away from the county’s capital Voinjaman where one town affected, while Zorzor district another town has also come under attack near Yeala a bordering town with Guinea.

This situation has badly affected the farming season in the county making it difficult for residents to regularly visit and carry out their farm work.

Residents are walking long hours in search of safe drinking water, adding that it has created shortage for the life necessity as rural dwellers drink mainly from creeks and streams that are now polluted.

If nothing is done by government through the Ministry of Agriculture to remedy the situation, it could result to economic hardship as hundreds of farmers cannot visit their farms to have some sale of the produce to sustain their families.

There could be huge influx of migration of hundreds of residents if the government does move in help the situation.

According to citizens from the affected areas, the Ministries of Agriculture and Health are yet to intervene since the outbreak of the caterpillars.

They expressed frustration that the situation has made live unbearable as many of them depend on their farming activities to make hands meet.

It can be recalled  that these caterpillars attacked Lofa County inflicting similar problems for citizens and their farms.

In Western Liberia, Gbarpolu county, there are also confirm report that the caterpillars have attacked and intensify their assault in two districts Bopolu and Bella affecting fifteen counties.

According to the report, three communities are affected in Bella district, while twelve other communities are also battling the caterpillar outbreak.

Some of the major towns in the two districts affected are Lohama, Totoquali, Belle Fassama, and Zuannah among others.

It is the second week now since the worms surfaced in the county.

The worms are mostly attacking and destroying major food crops including ground pea, corn, cassava and others.

Scores of famers who resided on their farms till the end of the farming season are now forced to transfer to other big towns due to the presence and rapid movement of the insects for fear of been affected.

Water sources are also seriously affected.

Gbarpolu Agriculture Coordinator Madam Weedor Cegbe confirmed the presence of the worms in the county and launched an appeal to the central government, local authorities to swiftly intervene to help address the situation.

According to her spraying of the caterpillars has commenced as their own way to fight the insects, but wants government to buttress their effort by proving gasoline or fuel oil, motorbikes.

“Motorbikes are needed in fighting the caterpillars, noting that vehicles cannot move in some areas due to deplorable state of the roads, she pleaded”.

Madam Cegbe lamented  it poses threat not only to the survival of crops, but human lives also as the insects have polluted water sources and could affect citizens through physically touch.

She pointed out that the caterpillar survived on a specific tree from where they later migrant to surrounding areas to feed on crops.

There has been no official word from the Ministries of Agriculture and Health on this latest outbreak of the caterpillars.

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About Cholo Brooks 13982 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.