India, Pakistan Brace for Worst Locust Attack in 27 Years
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, India and Pakistan are battling another crisis — their worst locust attack in nearly three decades, reports the Nikkei Asian Review. The flying insects have crossed over to India in a wave of desert swarms from neighboring Pakistan, sweeping several parts of the country and threatening to damage crops.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi noted in a Sunday radio address that many parts of the country have been affected by locust attacks, adding that efforts are on to help farmers and reduce crop losses by using modern techniques to tackle the crisis. “I am sure that together not only will we be able to battle out this crisis that is looming on our agricultural sector, but also manage to salvage our crops,” Modi said.
Among Indian states affected by the desert locusts, one of about a dozen species of short-horned grasshoppers, are northwestern Rajasthan, northern Punjab, western Gujarat and central Madhya Pradesh. Several other states as well as the territory that includes the national capital have also sounded the alarm over a potential attack in their regions.
In Pakistan, the desert locusts have reportedly entered from Iran, and have already devoured considerable quantities of crops in over 60 districts in all provinces, including Balochistan in the southwest. Media also say the country is intensifying efforts to combat the plague with pest control systems including spray aircraft.