Pakistan Declares National Emergency Over Locust Swarms

Prime Minister Imran Khan made the emergency declaration following a government briefing on the situation.

“We are facing the worst locust infestation in more than two decades and have decided to declare national emergency to deal with the threat,” Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan said on Saturday

Desert locusts massive grasshopping herbivores came from Iran in June to Pakistan, already ravaging the production of cotton, wheat, maize and others.

Map of locus locations

Favorable weather conditions and a delayed response by the government helped locusts to breed crop areas and attack them. Their potential for mass destruction raises fears about food insecurity.

Khusro Bak­h­tiar , the Minister of National Food Security, said that locust Swarms have been on the Pakistan-India border around Cholistan, and have previously been identified by Sindh and Balochistan.

The locust attack is unprecedented and alarming,” Bak­h­tiar told Pakistani lawmakers in a briefing on Friday.

“Action has been taken against the insect over 0.3 million acres (121,400 hectares) and aerial spray was done on 20,000 hectares,” he was quoted as saying by Pakistani newspaper The Express Tribune.

“District administrations, voluntary organizations, aviation division and armed forces are put into operation to combat the attack and save the crops,” he added.

The last time Pakistan saw a serious threat of locusts was in 1993. Currently, locust swarms are affecting neighboring India and countries in East Africa.

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