Information that sends shivers down the spine further aggravates the situation of families and villages in the East Sumba region of eastern Indonesia.
The crisis is raging, pests and grasshoppers are destructive, and everything is destroyed in minutes. The people of East Sumba are struggling within their means with the help of Kawan Baik and Fair Future Foundations.
Grasshopper attacks occur on average twice a year and last several months. May, June++ – and October-November++. These are clouds of pests that in a few minutes destroy entire hectares of crops, mainly maize, which is the staple food of rural families in East Sumba. Really, in ten minutes, an entire cornfield is reduced to nothing, everything is eaten, down to the ground.
In addition to the duration of the invasion, which can last for months, there is of course the aspect of food losses for the populations. Poverty is very present here, the level of famine affects more than 80% of people and almost 100% of children are underweight.
During high population years, the pests feed on and severely damage almost all crops, trees, shrubs, and vegetable gardens. We are in contact with the most affected populations who tell us how the fruit of their work, their fields but also their garden, is totally destroyed in a few minutes. Grasshoppers also eat the leaves of other crops in gardens within seconds. From then on, nothing can grow and all the harvests that tomorrow should have taken place have disappeared forever.
The impact on economic life, health, and access to food in quantity is enormous for these poor families since their income is not enough to buy enough to replace the lack of food caused by these pests. Plant crops – especially corn – are absolutely vital.
This is because rice is too expensive for most, and as a result, villagers grow maize for food. Trying to feed their families and children. Therefore, the first effect affects the stomachs of these people, many of whom are already undernourished.
Families struggle one way or another, sometimes pesticides are used. But it’s a bit like “fighting against windmills”, quite useless given the scale of the scourge and the speed of action of these insects. Here again, thousands of hectares are devoured and sometimes only a few minutes. Only the eyes are left to cry.
For the moment, pesticides are the only means used by the authorities.
One of the pesticides used and distributed by the authorities -read the government-, is a contact pesticide. Or, the pests transmit the toxicity of the product by contact. Except that pests enter homes, infiltrate everywhere, and also come into contact with families, children and all have had itchy skin for several days, in the most affected regions.
We need to do more, we can’t leave people without food and we are on the ground to help the families there. If you don’t know what to do, then we can only encourage you to make a donation in favor of tens of thousands of families affected and who in the very near future will no longer be able to eat, and no longer feed themselves.
Alex Wettstein – On 05.25.2022 – Thank you for your support.
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