Invading army-worms enter major border town
Written by Clarence Jackson
Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Report reaching Star Radio says invading armyworms have attacked a major town along the Liberia-Guinea border.

The Chief Medical Officer of Bong County told Star Radio, the armyworms numbering several million have invaded Lawein Town forcing residents to flee.

Dr. Garfee Williams said ten of the ninety-six houses in Lawein Town have been abandoned and people were seeking refuge on farms untouched by the pests.

According to Dr. Garfee the caterpillars are climbing the walls of houses and taking over rice farms in the area.

The Bong County Chief Medical Officer said of the affected towns and villages Lawein was the worst hit with creeks and wells badly contaminated.

Dr. Garfee recommends a massive aerial spraying exercise to rid central Liberia of armyworms.

Also, government has appealed for concerted international efforts to combat the swarm of armyworms that have invaded central Liberia.

Agriculture Minister Dr. Chris Toe said the extent of the damage being caused by the pests requires the help of all international partners.

Minister Toe told Star Radio helicopters were urgently needed to carry out aerial spraying of places attacked by the worm-like caterpillars.

Dr. Toe also appealed for motorized sprayers in order to spray treetops that have been permanently seized by the caterpillars.

On Tuesday Government launched a minimum effort using Knapsack sprayers to combat the swarm of armyworms.

The Ministry of Agriculture has deployed more than thirty technicians in the affected areas to spray the surrounding bushes with insecticides.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture has warned residents of Zota and Suakoko Districts not to eat dead chickens during its ten-day operation in the districts.

According to agricultural experts the insecticides currently being applied remains active for seven days before disintegrating.