Report By: Nandika Chand | Last Updated June 27, 2020
The Delhi government was brought to attention after a swarm of locusts swept through parts of the national capital, mainly Gurugram and Faridabad. Residents of these areas took to social media to share videos of the invading pests.
In April, locusts entered India through Rajasthan after creating havoc in Africa and neighbouring Pakistan. The Locust Warning Organization said India has not seen locust swarms on this scale since 1993. Last month, eight to 10 swarms, measuring around a square kilometer were active in parts of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The insects caused enormous damage to seasonal crops, and devastated farmers already struggling with the impact of COVID-19 nationwide lockdown.
On Friday, the Gurugram district administration had issued a warning about a likely invasion by locusts swarms. The residents were advised to play loud music and beat utensils to repel the insects.
KL Gurjar, deputy director of the Center’s Locust Warning Organization said the locust swarm was flying over Gurgaon and the southern border areas of Delhi. He said the wind direction was not favorable for it to enter the national capital. “It would move towards Faridabad and then enter Uttar Pradesh through Palwal,” Gurjar said.
Faridabad Deputy Commissioner Yashpal Yadav said they are prepared to deal with the situation. “In terms of crops, there has been no damage in the Gurgaon district so far because these are flying from Rewari and from above; they have not come down in the fields yet.”
According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, a swarm of 40 million locusts can eat as much food as 35,000 people. It said heavy rains and cyclones enabled unprecedented breeding and rapid growth of locust populations. And wind patterns have not been of much help as it has been pushing the swarms southwest.