Yesterday, officials warned that the next few weeks might be crucial for Pakistan in the fight against desert locust infestation with major swarms, which is expected to reach here later this month from the Horn of Africa.
Although they are confident that the country is in a better position to deal with the coming short-horned grasshoppers, considered one of the voracious insects, the last was here in 1993. Still, that time, the shortage of resources could impede the efforts to contain the problem.
Lt Gen Mohammad Afzal, chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority, briefed about the diplomatic corps at the National Locust Control Centre (NLCC), said the locust problem would possibly increase in the coming three to four weeks.
“Next eight weeks between July 15 and Sept 15 would be critical because of monsoon and the government’s ongoing commitment with anti-COVID-19 measures.”
Pakistan, which has both summer and spring breeding areas, is situated on the migratory locust route, therefore, particularly prone to locust attacks and has suffered several outbreaks over the years. The latest episode began in June last year following the start of the locust crisis in 2018, which was started from the southern Arabian Peninsula’s Empty Quarter bordering Yemen.
Sadly, this year is expected to be the worst for the country in 27 years because of more prolonged, more than usual, monsoon, and more rain towards its end due to Indian Ocean Dipole. Due to these favorable conditions, three generations of breeding occurred.