India is bracing itself for a growing assault on its western front, with droves of intruders flying in from Pakistan.
Huge swarms of desert locusts are destroying crops across western and central India, prompting authorities today to step up their response to the country's worst plague in almost three decades.
They destroyed harvests in the agricultural heartlands of neighbouring Pakistan in April, before entering Rajasthan.
A swarm of locusts in a residential area in Jaipur.
More than 20 million people are already facing severe acute food insecurity in Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Yemen, South Sudan, Uganda, Sudan, and Tanzania. Sightings have been reported in the states of Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh.
"Spring breeding continues in southern Iranand southwest Pakistan where control operations are in progress against hopper groups and bands as well as an increasing number of adult groups", explains the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on its website.
There are worrying spillover consequences for South-west Asia.
Karwa said that the locusts entered Jaipur in the winter of 1993 and it is after three decades, that they have attacked the city in summer. "The current heatwave condition and delayed monsoon onset can be a blessing in disguise to control the locust breeding", said Mohanty. "Locust control teams conducted operations by sprinkling pesticide in Jaipur last night and today, the remaining swarms have moved towards Dausa", a senior official said.
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Meanwhile, the number of daily tests continues to linger well below the 20,000-plus the province has said it wants to achieve. There is one person receiving hospital care for the virus, they are in Middlemore Hospital and are not in intensive care.
The massive attacks on crop fields can lead to a phenomenon called Locust Plague, when the entire crop season is taken away through the strike of Locust swarms on the crop fields. As their population become dense, they form swarms and start damaging the crops. The large swarms can contain of adults up to 80 million adults and they have the capacity to consume the same amount of food in one day as 35,000 people.
The desert locust is one of 12 species of short-horned grasshoppers.
Where have the Locusts infested upon the crops?
At least 10 districts in Uttar Pradesh that border Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have been put on alert after swarms of locusts attacked crops in the two States, an official said on Tuesday. But this hasn't come in the way of India and Pakistan working closely to fight these migratory insects, say officials.
Last year, the state governments had assisted farmers through schemes focusing on the use of pesticides and tractor mounted sprayer.
Even drones are being used to counter this problem but unfortunately it is much bigger due to global warming.