Pakistan declares national emergency against crop-eating locust

by MCR Correspondent

Pakistan has declared a national emergency to tackle an impending attack of crop-eating locust from breeding grounds in southern Iran.

While disclosing this on Wednesday May 20, 2020, a senior official of the Food and Agriculture Organization, said that even as the country battles the coronavirus pandemic, its level of preparedness is very high.

While Speaking to UN correspondents in New York via video-link from Rome, Keith Cressman, FAO’s senior locust forecasting officer, described the current desert locust outbreak as the worst in decades for countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Iran, Pakistan and India.

He noted that the agency was doing all it can to help these countries control this menace that threatens their food security.

In his response to a question about the operations in Pakistan, Cressman stated that Prime Minister Imran Khan had already declared a national emergency to meet the challenge.

“The government has been training all their personnel, recruiting additional hands, procuring stocks of pesticides, vehicles and aircraft. Also, Pakistanis are ready, if need be, to quickly upscale their operations,” he said.

“Unlike Kenya, Pakistan also has some experience of dealing with locust swarms in the past, and they have systems in place,” he added.

Commending the response to FAO’s international appeal for funds that has already brought in US $158 million, Cressman said the World Bank had made a generous contribution that would help boost the agency’s efforts to help the affected countries.

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