Pakistan Is Facing The Worst Locust Attack In Decades
An attack of locusts has scattered across Pakistan, inducing destruction to crops and farms and posturing a warning to food security in an impoverished country already striving to tackle a virus outbreak that has caused more than 1,500 deaths.
Huge swarms of the desert locust, which specialists state begins in Africa and is the most deadly of the locust species, started destroying Pakistan’s crops last month.
But the condition worsened last week, and authorities started sending aircraft and spraying machines loaded with pesticides installed on vehicles to eradicate the insects, which are about the size of a finger and fly collectively by the millions.
Farmers could be viewed paddling through clouds of the insects as some attempted to kill them with sticks.
Chaudhry Asghar, an agriculture officer in the Multan, said millions of desert locusts had already destroyed orchards, crops, and vegetables.
“We have increased efforts to protect our crops from any further attack of locusts,” Syed Fahar Imam, the national food security minister, said Friday. He stated the government would buy five more aircraft for spraying farms.
The insects have wreaked devastation on swathes of farmland in eastern Punjab, southern Sindh, and southwestern Baluchistan region. They also raided crops in the northwest bordering Afghanistan.
The locusts have also made agricultural destruction to neighboring India, where critics accused Pakistan as a new breeding territory for the desert locusts. Pakistani officials announced no country should accuse another of the situation, but all swayed countries need to make combined efforts to counter a potential food emergency in the region.
Farmers say while crops of rabi, a kind of grain, were planted in winter and harvested in the spring, locusts are destroying cotton and vegetable crops planted in April.
The National Disaster Management Authority stated resources were being prepared, and operations were initiated to control the locust invasion.
A report said 1,150 crews of specialists had extended operations by spraying clouds of desert locusts in 61 districts across the country. Arrangements were also being made to fight another potential attack of locusts anticipated in July and August.
Meantime, Pakistan has strived to hold the spread of the novel coronavirus, with more than 69,000 cases confirmed and more than 1,500 deaths. Infections recently grew across Pakistan, including in Islamabad’s capital, after the government raised lockdown restrictions and neglected medical specialists.