Over 5,000 sq km area cleared from locusts in 46 districts

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ISLAMABAD: The National Locust Control Centre (NLCC) of National Disaster Management Authority announced on Sunday that an area of 5,245 square kilometers had been cleared from desert locusts in the affected areas of 46 districts in the country, while a survey on 260,785 sq km has been completed.

In Punjab, during the past 24 hours, control operation was carried out on 71 hectares of land with the presence of desert locusts in Mianwali and Dera Ghazi Khan districts. An area of 114,935 hectares has also been surveyed. The joint survey and operation were carried out by 279 vehicles and 2,275 personnel from the national food security and research ministry, agriculture department and Pakistan Army.

According to a bulletin of the NLCC, 86,12,267 hectares have been surveyed while control operation was carried out on 174,460 hectares of affected land in Punjab.

In Sindh, control operation was carried out on 667 hectares of land in Jamshoro, Matiari and Hyderabad. During the past 24 hours, a survey was conducted on 49,811 hectares in Sindh. So far, 32,76,415 hectares of land have been surveyed, while 41,739 hectares of land have been cleared from desert locusts.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, an area of 80,580 hectares of land was surveyed, while the presence of desert locust was confirmed on 606 hectares in Dera Ismail Khan, South Waziristan, North Waziristan, Lakki Marwat, Karak, Kurram and Khyber districts. So far, 37,36,208 hectares of land have been surveyed, while control operation was carried out on 45,320 hectares.

In Balochistan, an area of 130,417 hectares was surveyed during the past 24 hours, while control operation was carried out on 3,417 hectares in Khuzdar, Awaran, Nushki, Chagai, Gwadar, Lasbela, Panjgur, Kharan, Washak, Quetta, Barkhan, Dera Bugti, Dakki, Harnai, Jafferabad, Jhal Magsi, Bolan, Qalat, Killa Abdullah, Kila Saifal Ali, Kohlu, Loralai, Mastung, Musakhel, Naseerabad, Pishin, Sibbi, Serab, Suhbatpur, Zhob and Ziarat districts.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) latest desert locust bulletin said hopper groups and bands were present mainly between Panjgur and Quetta, on the coast near Pasni, in the central Indus Valley near Rohri, on the Punjab plains, and in KP.

An increasing number of immature adult groups and swarms was maturing throughout May in all areas. As conditions were drying out, groups and swarms moved east to the summer breeding areas in the deserts of Cholistan, Nara and Tharparkar.

The bulletin said that additional adult groups and swarms would form in Balochistan, Punjab and KP and move to Cholistan, Nara and Tharparkar along the India-Pakistan border where they would mature and lay eggs with the onset of monsoon rains. This will be supplemented by other spring-bred swarms arriving from Iran during June and East Africa from early July onwards. Locusts that arrive in advance of the rains are likely to settle in cropping areas or continue east to India.

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