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Caterpillar Worms Outbreak Obstructing Farming, Polluting Water in Gbarpolu County

Gbarpolu County – The Ministry of Agriculture office in Gbarpolu County says there’s caterpillar worms’ outbreak in two districts in the county which is obstructing farming activities and may also pollute drinking water sources in communities.
Framing is the predominant source of livelihood for people in that part of Liberia – a region that was gravely affected by the Ebola outbreak.

Making disclosure about the caterpillars Worms outbreak, MOA County Coordinator, Weeder A. Cegbe named Lowoma, Sappimah, Totoquelleh, and Small Henry Towns as the affected towns.
She also named Worworlor village, Dwannah Town and Mobilita as communities affected by the worms in Bopolu District, while Belle Passama, Belle Baloma and Kalata are towns affected in Belleh district.

The MOA County boss said the caterpillars are gradually moving and destroying farmers’ crops like corns, cassava, banana, plantains, and ground-nut as well as polluting drinking water sources in those communities. Most of these communities are without hand pump.
Explains Madam Weedor: “Since Saturday, June 25, complains have been flowing to our office and we moved in later and started spraying beginning with Lowoma in Bopolu District. Because of the importance attached to this my Minister asked that we get more spray.”

The MoA County Office says it is requesting more sprays, gasoline and technical support and will move into more affected towns to intervene.

Locals Expressing Concerns

“We been using gasoline to burn them, but as soon the sun start shining that is the time they can come like ants,” explains Massa Scott, a resident of Emma’ Village. “We can’t sleep at all in peace because of them (caterpillars), So let the government come to our aid now”.

Agnes Thompson, a farmer told LocalVoices Liberia that the caterpillar has started eating up her plants. “They are eating all that I planted; my corns, cassava and peppers,” she said. “For me I can’t put fire on them so I do not know what to do? We (are) just asking our leaders to keep asking for help for us”.
“They are in my peanuts farms; I lost everything on that farm. More then 50 cups of peanuts plus cassava and peppers gone just like that,” added the Town Chief of Tawalata.

For Worlor worlor-Town, Chief Junior Varney says the caterpillar worms are forcing villagers which include artisanal miners to migrate. “We are not mining like before; some of our people left their mining pits because of these caterpillars. Even in the town here, water is becoming unprotected because of these worms”.

Local Authority Expressing Concern

The District surveillance officer of the Gbarpolu County Health Team said the situation needs urgent attention. “The people in Belle (district) are worrying about this caterpillar, we had meeting about this before I came. So I hope that MOA move in quick, quick to calm the outbreak,” cautioned Thomas Zayzay.

The District Commissioner of Bopolu, Olu Nangba says he’s been informed by many people in the area about the situation and said several villagers are moving. “We are pleading with government to come in and help our people.”

Meanwhile, Madam Weedor is asking all affected communities to work along with the team that will move in other to help accelerate the fight against these creeping creatures.

Henry B. Gboluma, Reporter

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