Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera 30 May 2020

India and Pakistan face the worst locust attack in decades


Plagues of locusts are devastating large parts of India and Pakistan.
Billions of dollars worth of crops have been damaged, prompting fears of food shortages.
Pakistan's government says it is the worst infestation in more than 20 years.

Al Jazeera's Elizabeth Puranam reports from New Delhi, India.

India and Pakistan are facing their worst plague of locusts in decades. Authorities in both countries fear a food security crisis. And even as Pakistan struggles with the economic fallout of the coronavirus lockdown, its agricultural sector says the insect infestation poses a greater challenge:
While Asia and Africa are battling their worst locust invasion in decades, the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic could push tens of millions of people even into deeper poverty and hunger. Over 50 million people were already facing crisis-level food insecurity before the coronavirus pandemic began to spread. COVID-19 prevents farmers from offsetting crop losses by doing manual labor in cities because of curfews, restricted movement, and social distancing mandates.
Some of the most disadvantaged parts of the UK are suffering the worst effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The borough of Newham in east London has recorded the worst mortality rate in England and Wales, according to official figures.

Meanwhile the continent of Africa has yet to suffer the numbers of infections and deaths that have been seen in other parts of the world. The latest figures show just under 3,000 deaths across the whole of Africa from coronavirus.

And while many deaths may have gone unreported and numbers could rise, it's been suggested that much can be learnt from the way African countries prepared for the virus.

Huw Edwards presents BBC News at Ten reports from Michael Buchanan in east London, and Anne Soy in Kenya.
Swarms of the insects are sweeping through south Asia, decimating crops in India and Pakistan. Locusts can gobble up vast areas of field and forest very quickly, and they are one of the so-called Ten Plagues of Egypt. Coming on the heels of the Coronavirus pandemic, some Biblical literalists are wondering if the end of the world is nigh. Scientists say new weather patterns linked to climate change have made it possible for locusts to surge in a big way.

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