Ivan Meyer, the Western Cape’s MEC for Agriculture, has confirmed that his department is now seeking a disaster declaration for the province. The regional government has already ploughed R5 million into tackling these infestations, but they are still in need of more assistance.
- Swarms have recently been reported in Merweville, Prince Albert, Beaufort West, and Kliprand.
- It’s understood that the locusts are predominantly in the Central Karoo, Port Alfred, and Garden Route districts.
- However, the northern tip of the province’s West Coast has also been described as ‘an affected area’.
- Data made available to the Western Cape Government reveals that the locust swarms are ‘heading east’.
- WC officials have sounded the alarm for their counterparts in the Northern and Eastern Capes, too.
Outbreak hot-spots: Where are the worst-affected areas?
A map of the worst affected areas has been made public this week. Kliprand is an outlier, and most of the locust swarms are based in eastern parts of the province. Calitzdorp, Murraysburg, and Laingsburg are also in the firing line.
Western Cape locust swarms: MEC warns of ‘impending disaster’
There was room for slight optimism on Tuesday, after MEC Meyer revealed that the locust swarms ‘have started to decrease’ in the Western Cape. However, he remains concerned about an ‘impending disaster’ for the region.
“Although the size of locust swarms are now decreasing in the Western Cape, the threat of reoccurrence remains. Four swarms have been sighted in the past week, and its possible they are on their way to the Eastern Cape. We are requesting a ‘disaster classification’ for this current outbreak.”
“My department and the Provincial Disaster Management Centre are assessing the full losses that are being experienced in the agricultural sector. We have to prevent an impending disaster, and doing so will protect livelihoods.”
Western Cape MEC Ivan Meyer