‘Risk of locust swarms migrating to Indo-Pakistan border from Somalia’: UN agency
There remains a risk that a limited number of locust swarms could migrate from northeast Somalia to the Indo-Pakistan border area during the remainder of this month, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of United Nations said on Tuesday.
In its last situation update, the FAO said that in Somalia, ground and aerial control operations are underway against immature swarms on the northern plateau between Hargeisa and Garowe. The swarms are moving eastwards across the north and they could continue to migrate across the Indian Ocean to reach the summer breeding areas along both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border.
“Control operations are in progress against hopper groups and bands in the Nagarparkar area of southeast Sindh near the Indian border in Pakistan. Groups of adults are maturing in Tharparkar and Cholistan deserts where laying is expected in areas that have already received monsoon rains. This will cause a further increase in locust numbers as hatching and hopper band formation occur in the coming weeks,” the FAO said.
On the situation in India, the organisation said that adult groups and swarms are maturing throughout Rajasthan where laying is underway in many areas. So far, a few hopper groups and bands have formed but substantial hatching is expected in the coming weeks. There have been no recent reports of additional locusts in the northern states as most of the adult groups and swarms have returned to Rajasthan as expected.
“We have an eye on FAO’s updates and ground situations. Every effort is being made to control locusts. So far, the state government and the organisation together have controlled locusts in about three and a half lakh hectare area,” said KL Gurjar, Deputy Director of Locust Warning Organization (LWO).
The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) had recently said that locust attacks are posing a serious threat to food security in parts of East Africa, India and Pakistan as a result of changing climate conditions that can be linked to human activity.
The specialised agency of the United Nations said extreme weather events and climatic changes such as increases in temperature and rainfall over desert areas, and the strong winds associated with tropical cyclones, provide a new environment for pest breeding, development and migration.