Pakistan is facing another huge crisis from swarms of desert locusts, which are destroying crops on a large scale in Punjab after wiping it out in Sindh. The government has declared a national emergency on Saturday.
“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.
Favourable weather conditions and a delayed government response have helped the locusts breed and attack crop areas.
National Food Security Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar said the locust swarms were currently on the Pakistan-India border around Cholistan and were previously in Sindh and Balochistan, Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported.
“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.
“The federal government will take all possible steps and provide required facilities to protect crops from any possible danger with special focus on the danger of locust,” Khan said, according to Dawn.