Nimba County – In time past, there were reports of caterpillar invasions in Lofa and Gbarpolu Counties. Many hectares of farms were reportedly captured and destroyed by army worms, while drinking water sources were polluted by the worms.
Residents of Flumpa Town in Nimba County were shocked when over two hectares of forest land was taken over by very strange caterpillars at the south-eastern outskirt of the town within few days.
Locals are concern that the caterpillar invasion could push farther south of the town and destroyed cassava and rice farms near the forest, and there would be serious set back to farmers in the community and even beyond.
The situation is also a health concern for the citizens of the chiefdom.
The strange caterpillar – about two inches long – has white stripes on both sides and a long black stripe on the back from its yellowish folk tail used for changing movement and has a black head.
Their green feces had completely polluted the creek in the area and this is creating serious panic within the community.
The General Town Chief of Flumpa, Mr. Edwin Zaingbay, cautioned citizens of the community not to use the road leading to the location of the worms for their own safety until the county health team or the county agriculture office is contacted.
Detour routes used to by-pass the affected area also became impassable because of over flooded creeks along the road.
Locals are struggling to deal with the situation since it is the first army worms’ outbreak in the area.
In Zahn Glehsonla Town, there is also caterpillar invasion which is displacing inhabitants of two villages in Leesonnon Chiefdom. Affected families are seeking refuge in neighboring villages.
Efforts to contact the District Health Officer Mr. Cooper Karnue of Saclepea District proved futile.
When contacted, Mr. Samuel N. Kehleay, County Agriculture Officer of Nimba advised residents of Flumpa not to be moved by the presence of the worm.
“Caterpillar is the offspring of butterfly. At this larva stage, they are very destructive. But they cause concern for our ministry when crops are attacked by them,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Kehleay is encouraging farmers to go about their normal farming activities in the area because the caterpillars mean no harm to them.
“I have submitted reports to the ministry requesting for sprayers for the six districts in the county to combat cases as such when they turn wild and the need arises.”
However, Mr. Kehleay further explained that his office is watching the caterpillar cases in the county closely because similar situations were reported in the Kitmon area in Sanniquellie-Mah and other parts of the county.
But because of fear of the worms, the farm roads where the caterpillars are located is still not being used by villagers as they call on government to come to their aid.
Report by: Mac Samah