Stefan J. Bos
Authorities in India say the nation is facing its worst swarm of locust on record, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
India's Locust Warning Organization said at least ten swarms of up to 80 million locusts had made their way through India, destroying crops.
The group warned the locust infestation is the worst this nation of over 1.3 billion people has ever seen.
They invaded huge areas before their usual migration from neighboring Pakistan between July and October, officials said.
The locust infestations have been radiating through much of India’s western states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Maharashtra, central states of Madhya Pradesh and Punjab, and Haryana and Uttar Pradesh in the north.
Sweltering heat reportedly contributed to the locust infestations this year.
Experts warn of extensive crop losses potentially impacting the food supplies of millions of people if authorities fail to curb the fast-spreading swarms by June.
From June, monsoon rains usually spur rice, cane, corn, cotton, and soybean sowing.
The government says it will halt the swarms with new equipment and vehicles to survey and spray insecticides. But there were no indications Thursday that the locust invasion had been stopped.
It comes as millions of hungry Indian people are already jobless following a devastating government-imposed lockdown linked to the coronavirus outbreak.
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