Year of Calamity? Plague-like Locusts Return to Pakistan and India, Endangering Food Security

© REUTERS / Baz RatnerA swarm of desert locusts flies over a ranch near the town of Nanyuki in Laikipia county, Kenya, February 21, 2020. Picture taken February 21, 2020
A swarm of desert locusts flies over a ranch near the town of Nanyuki in Laikipia county, Kenya, February 21, 2020. Picture taken February 21, 2020 - Sputnik International
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New Delhi (Sputnik): After wreaking havoc in various parts of India and Pakistan in late 2019 and early 2020, locusts are back and unleashing attacks on western parts of India, along the border with Pakistan.

Desert locusts, which usually reach India and Pakistan in the months of September and October, have already begun to cause destruction to crops in Pakistan’s Balochistan province and India’s Rajasthan state.

Following a 2019 outbreak in Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and South Asia, locusts are now eating crops in Balochistan’s Washuk district, where they are multiplying by the day. The district lies a few hundred kilometres from Iran.

India’s Rajasthan state, which shares a border with Pakistan, is looking at huge economic losses due to the locusts which have entered Barmer, Jalore, Jaisalmer and Jodhpur districts from Pakistan’s Sindh province.

The authorities are terming the locust invasion threatening as both summer and rainy season crops are under attack.

​In February, Pakistan declared a national emergency after the nation’s worst locust onslaught in two decades, which battered 40% of the crops in the country.

The last two years have seen an upsurge in locust swarms. This is due to the Mekunu and Luban cyclonic storms in May and October 2018 in Oman and Yemen, which created the climatic conditions that allowed for the current upsurge in population.

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