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desert locust attack

These are locusts that voraciously feed on vegetation, but have not yet laid eggs. The outbreak began late 2019 in Gujarat and Rajasthan. Locust attacks are known to cause a considerable drop in agricultural output. A desert locust is seen feeding on a plantation. They attacked the trees when they couldn't find the crop patches. What impact does NZ's series win against Pakistan have on WTC table? While green vegetation is good for hopper development – the stage between the nymph that has hatched and before its turning into a winged adult moth – such cover isn’t widespread enough in deserts to allow growth of large locust populations. The infestation "presents an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods in the Horn of Africa," according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). It appears that such conditions have been there since the start of this year. These events triggered yet another spurt of reproductive activity. In Western Rajasthan's Sri Ganganagar, Bikaner and Barmer districts, large groups of pink swarming locusts destroyed lush green fields laden with Rabi crops this year. For all the latest Explained News, download Indian Express App. Control operations were then undertaken in the summer breeding areas along both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border (May–February), Ethiopia (August onwards) and Yemen (July onwards). And these swarms have come not only to western Rajasthan, but also moved to the eastern parts of the state and even Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. During this century, Desert Locust plagues occurred in 1926-1934, 1940-1948, 1949-1963, 1967-1969 and 1986-1989. (Photo: PTI) As their name suggests, desert locusts normally live and breed in semi-arid/desert regions. [3], The current outbreak began when Cyclone Mekunu in 2018 produced heavy rains in the Rub' al Khali of the Arabian Peninsula;[4] in Spring 2019, swarms spread from these areas, and by June 2019, the locusts spread north to Iran, Pakistan, and India and south to East Africa, particularly the Horn of Africa. The UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) have both stated that the phenomenally heavy rains have contributed to not only the devastating 2019 Burundi landslides, but also a "serious and widespread desert locust outbreak". The Kenyan government is on high alert and effective control measures have been put in place. Cyclones in May and October 2018 brought heavy rains that gave rise to favourable breeding conditions in the Empty Quarter of the southern Arabian Peninsula for at least nine months since June. One reason for the swarms migrating eastwards – normally they are seen in India only after July post the monsoon’s arrival, while confining themselves mostly to the desert areas of West Rajasthan where they breed and exist as solitary insects or in isolated groups – has been their search for food. Also Read | As the locusts fly in, memories, and fears, of a recurring ‘plague’. [14] This shift has resulted in increased cyclone activity over the last decade in the Persian Gulf, previously home to very few cyclones, and is associated with flooding in countries along the western Indian Ocean, dry weather in the east, and bushfires in Australia.[15]. Locusts aren’t dangerous as long as they are individual hoppers/moths or small isolated groups of insects, in what is called the “solitary phase”. So if hoppers are stopped from adults this wouldn't lead to another cycle of infestation. Desert locusts can have about 40 million to 80 million ... in Pakistan have damaged crops including wheat and cotton and the country declared a national emergency to combat the locust attack … [24] [5] By June 2020, a separate swarm appeared in South America, affecting Paraguay and Argentina. [22], However, low levels of rainfall in May, in conjunction with both new and continued ground and aerial pest control initiatives, led to the locust population, which had been stagnant over the preceding two months, declining, with reduced average swarm sizes and a less widespread distribution of locusts, which were, by then, primarily resident in the north-western counties of Turkana and Marsabit. In May, amid the coronavirus pandemic, parts of India such as Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh were severely affected by locust swarms measuring a kilometer wide, the worst locust attack in 27 years. (Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by … From March to October 1915, swarms of locusts stripped areas in and around Palestine, Mount Lebanon and Syria of almost all vegetation. [30] Uganda has not had to deal with a locust infestation since the ’60s so there is concern about the ability for experts on the ground to be able to deal with it without external support, This week Uganda’s prime minister told agriculture authorities that “this is an emergency and all agencies must be on the alert,” the government-controlled New Vision newspaper reported. By the summer of 2019, swarms had reached over the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden into Ethiopia and Somalia, where they continued breeding and started causing concerns. The U.N. has allocated $10 million for aerial spraying.[33]. Aerial and ground spraying combined with constant tracking of the swarms are viewed as the most effective strategies. The formation of bands is ongoing in the rangelands of the Ethiopian Somali Region; and massive new swarms will arrive from Yemen and Somalia. [8] The sight and smell of other locusts, as well as sensory stimulation from contact between locusts' hind legs, precipitates changes in the locusts' behaviour and morphology; the previously green, nocturnal and solitary creatures become larger, develop black-and-yellow colouring, and begin to seek out other locusts, a process known as gregarization. [23] By then, the plague was Kenya's worst locust outbreak in over seventy years, affecting approximately 70,000 hectares (172,973 acres) of land, and leading the country's agriculture minister to state that authorities were unprepared for an infestation of such scale. Subsequently, there has been arrival of swarms from the main spring-breeding areas. A proactive exercise of control, through aerial spraying of ultra-low volume of concentrated insecticides in all potential breeding sites, is required, along with continuous monitoring of the crops during the ensuing kharif season. [31], In swarms the size of major cities, the locusts also have affected various parts of Eritrea. As of October 2020, only Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Yemen harbour significant swarms of gregarious locusts, with the remainder of the population situated in isolated pockets in Kenya, Sudan, and Saudi Arabia. Locusts have reached the villages of Barkheda Gurjar, Arnia Borana, Sakrani Jagir, Dhaokkheda, Kuchadoud in Jeeran Tehsil. In January 2019 one of the first swarms reached Yemen and it became one of the first breeding grounds for the desert locusts and caused them to spread more. Keith Cressman, senior locust forecasting officer with the Food and Agriculture Organization said, he thinks, "we can assume there will be more locust outbreaks and upsurges in the Horn of Africa.”[19][20] The situation was fueled by unusually heavy rains,[8] causing a big concern in the Horn of Africa, where more than 24 million people are food insecure and 12 million people are internally displaced. According to the Agriculture Ministry officials, the relatively few locusts reaching Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa are “leftovers” from the “massive invasion” in the eastern and southern parts of the country. Also Read | Locust attack tracker: Where the hoppers are headed and how states are battling the plague. FAO warns of second wave of Desert locust attack in Kenya Ethiopia steps up aerial spraying to stop new desert locust invasion Panic buying, … Researchers are now inputting data on soil moisture and vegetation cover to help predict where eggs have been laid and are likely to hatch and thrive. For laying eggs, they require bare ground, which is rarely found in areas with dense vegetation. However, the locusts have traveled far, wiping out crops in Pakistan and damaging farms in Yemen, a fragile country already hit hard by years of conflict. East Africa, in fact, had its wettest rainfall season in over four decades even during October-November. ANI | 27 Jun 2020, 12:31 PM IST. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines. These areas should get rains that will produce enough green vegetation to enable both egg laying and hopper development. They extended to Egypt and Saudi Arabia in January where they continued for several months before a further extension to spring breeding areas in Saudi Arabia (February–June), Iran (February–July) and Pakistan (March–July). Thus, we have had two meteorological drivers behind the current locust invasions:  one, unseasonal heavy rains in the main spring-breeding tracts in March-April, and, two, strong westerly winds. [12][13][14][4] The Indian Ocean Dipole, an irregular oscillation in sea surface temperatures between the western and eastern parts of the Indian Ocean, has increased in magnitude due to the effects of climate change. [5] Heavy rains over the preceding short rain season (October-December) created an environment conducive to locust breeding,[22] and over the next two months the swarms spread and matured, infesting 21 counties by the end of February and reaching Kenya's borders with Uganda and Tanzania. Some 45 million sq km of land in 90 countries are potentially prone or under the threat of invasion by the desert locust, according to the FAO. The Gurugram administration had issued an advisory on Friday to keep windows, doors shut in the event of such an attack after a swarm was sighted in the Mahendragarh district. The desert locust attack has wiped out crops spread over 5,00,000 hectares in Rajasthan. However, the locusts have traveled far, wiping out crops in Pakistan and damaging farms in Yemen, a fragile country already hit hard by years of conflict. The Department of Agriculture says that 9 locust groups have gotten lively in the desert. So, they are more likely to breed in Rajasthan than in the Indo-Gangetic plains or Godavari and Cauvery delta. [30] 20.2 million people facing severe acute food insecurity in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. [2] The plague began in June 2019 and continued into 2020, although locust swarms have experienced steady declines in population and geographical reach from May to October, and are, as of November 2020, primarily found in the Horn of Africa and Yemen. It is when their population grows to large numbers – the resultant crowding induces behavioral changes and transformation from the “solitary” to “gregarious” phase – that they start forming swarms. Spraying is being conducted around the city to stop the outbreak from spreading elsewhere. (REUTERS) Locust attack: 'They damage anything that comes in their way' 3 min read. The control operations have been less successful in Yemen and Iran.[41]. By - Dilip Unnikrishnan As the desert locust attack continues to wreak havoc in India and Pakistan, the two neighbouring countries are cooperating with each other to tackle the outbreak, Pakistan Foreign Office said on Friday. [52], As of April 2020 Ethiopia was using five planes and Kenya six planes for spraying and four planes for surveying. In early March this year, Kenya experienced the worst locust attack in 7 years; herds were devastated and crops destroyed across the country. Kenya could be losing the fight against desert locust invasion after it … Pakistan and India are members of the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Commission for Controlling the Desert Locust in South-West Asia (SWAC). From January to June 2019 the locusts started to enter Saudi Arabia. The above large-scale breeding and swarm formation, however, takes place only when conditions turn very favourable in their natural habitat, i.e. Copy URL. So far, the swarms haven’t caused much damage, since the rabi crop has already been harvested and farmers are yet to start kharif sowings. [46], On 17 June 2020, a swarm reached Argentina from Paraguay, reaching the Corrientes Province and by 22 June, it was making its way into the Entre Ríos Province, destroying corn and cassava crops along the way,[47] and the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. With no crops in fields now, they have ended up invading green spaces, including parks, in Jaipur and orange orchards near Nagpur. East Africa is the epicenter of the locust crisis—with Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda among the affected countries. He said emergence of new challenges like climate change, COVID 19, Pollution and locust.Locust insect need timely and collectively response. In Summary. India has been able to bring swarms of desert locusts under control in two key oilseed producing states.[42][43]. [9] These changes result in the formation of large locust swarms that gregarize nearby locusts and breed profusely, allowing them to undergo rapid, exponential growth. Updated: 27 May 2020, 02:38 PM IST Nitin Sreedhar. [30] In a country like South Sudan, where already 47% of the population is food insecure this crisis would cause devastating consequences. This might have been as far as the locusts got were it not for the fact that during October 2018, East Africa experienced unusually widespread and intense autumn rains, which were capped in December by a rare late season cyclone Pawan that made landfall in Somalia. Spraying combined with constant tracking of the region and sharpened the misery of all Jerusalemites poses serious..., stockpile pesticides and conduct aerial spraying. [ 41 ], on May 27 risk. Also, the locusts were reported to have complete knowledge about the current swarms are viewed the... The latest Explained NEWS, download Indian Express App desert locusts normally live breed. Another spurt of reproductive activity crops spread over at least 350,000 hectares of land will require control! 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