As India’s agricultural state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) is desperately struggling with the COVID pandemic, it's now staring down the barrel of another crisis: devastating swarms of locusts. The short-horned grasshoppers migrate from the fields of Pakistan towards India via Rajasthan every year in search of crops to feed on.
This year is no different. In May, millions of locusts swarmed their way into India’s desert state Rajasthan. Agricultural authorities have issued an alert for UP as the insects are headed towards Agra city – where there's over 12,000 hectares (30,000 acres) of agricultural land. Aligarh city has also been alerted.
Aligarh District Administration Issues Alert Over #Locust Attack In UP pic.twitter.com/nCK5nOH0jZ— Rama Madi (@RamaMadi12) May 24, 2021
"We have alerted the farmers about the locust menace. Currently, there's no standing crops in the fields. However, vegetables are grown in 30,000 acres of land in Agra. We are advising farmers about a suitable proportion of chemicals to be used for eliminating the insects," an official statement by Agra’s district agriculture officer reads.
The locusts are expected to enter UP at the end of May.
Farmers in and around Agra have been advised to create smoke and bang utensils, tins, and drums to drive the locusts away from their land.
Helped by favourable winds, the massive swarms of crop-eating locusts can travel at speeds of up to 150 kph.
Between May and August last year, the locusts made their way into several Indian states including Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Odisha, while also entering cities like Delhi.
Locust in Gurgaon, heading Delhi.— Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. (@mb33422903) June 27, 2020
No news, no warning, no message by HARYANA GOVT. pic.twitter.com/xr1uaDwxGA
The news is further cause for concern for India, which is already reeling in the face of several issues.
What's more, earthquakes and cyclones have been wrecking havoc in the states of Assam, West Bengal, Odisha, Gujarat, and Maharashtra.
Indians have taken to Twitter to comment on the situation:
Corona, Earthquake, Cyclone , Black fungus, White fungus ,now locust attack prediction.— Avinash Thakur (@AvinashThakur96) May 22, 2021
What else remains to be seen????
Le nature:- it's payback time !!
First Covid-19, then lockdown,locust attack, Black Fungus, White Fungus, Cyclone Tauktae, and now Cyclone Yaas. #CycloneYaas— Mitali Yadav (@Mitaliciouss) May 23, 2021
Indians be like : https://t.co/ov2LrlxFKi pic.twitter.com/xtbA85OiKN
#Covid #CycloneTauktae #Earthquake #BlackFungus #Locusts— Awin (@awintheory) May 20, 2021
Rajasthan has surrounded as alert for a locust attack in jaisalmer district
What else remains to be seen? pic.twitter.com/tNvY7XhBlb