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Pakistani authorities warned, Locust group may attack later this month from the Horn of Africa

Islamabad: Pakistani authorities warned that immediate steps needed to be taken to thwart huge swarms of desert locusts expected to reach Pakistan later this month from the Horn of Africa.

"The situation today is that, within the next few days or weeks, these swarms from the Horn of Africa, especially from Somalia, may arrive in South West Asia. South West Asia means Iran, Pakistan, India," Federal Minister For National Food Security And Research, Fakhr Imam told a meeting of the National Locust Control Centre (NLCC) on Friday, July 24.

Pakistan is particularly prone to locust attacks because it is situated on the migratory route of locusts coming from the Horn of Africa, Yemen and Oman. Last year, Pakistan suffered its worst attack of locusts since 1993, for which the country was largely unprepared. Officials from the Ministry of Food Security and Research say swarms coming from the Horn of Africa could be 400 times more than those that came last year.
The warnings have given rise to wide scale locust control measures in affected areas of the country, mostly in the provinces of Balochistan and Sindh. According to statements from NLCC, 1051 joint teams of Pakistan army, Agriculture Ministry and Food Department have conducted surveys in over 43,9312.21 square kilometres of the affected areas of the country, and carried out fumigation operations in 10,720.49 kilometres of land.

Around 8000 military personnel, and 9 aircraft, are taking part in the locust control operations. Locusts move in swarms of up to 50 million, can travel 90 miles a day, and lay as many as 1,000 eggs per square metre of land.

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