Nepal is witnessing its worst locust invasion in decades amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The swarms of locusts that entered Nepal on June 27 from India have spread to 52 districts of the country.
According to the Information Officer at the Plant Quarantine and Pesticide Management Center, Ram Krishna Subedi, around 7 to 8 million locusts have already entered Nepal.
Among them, only 3.5 million are active in damaging the crops, mostly maize and vegetables. Of the remaining, a large section was diverted into the jungle due to wind, while some have died after attacking each other.
Among the 52 districts, 27 districts including Rukum, Rolpa, Makwanpur, Dang, Pyuthan, Palpa, Chitwan, Kapilvastu, Rupandehi, and Kailali have suffered significant crop damage due to locusts.
According to Subedi, the swarm of locusts that entered Rupandehi is the largest of all, which consisted of 2 to 2.5 million.
In response, all the local and state governments are on high alert by mobilizing technical teams to control the possible loss due to the locusts.
However, according to the Center, the country is likely to witness another locust swarm in the next few days.
A locust swarm that is currently in Indian border areas Bhagalpur and Motihari might head towards the Champaran district of Nepal.
Informing that the wind direction from East to West might bring the swarm into Nepal, the Nepali Government has urged people from Tarai, inner-Tarai valleys and lower hilly areas to stay alert.
“Flowers and plants can be protected from the swarm if they are covered properly and crops cultured inside the tunnel can be protected by using lace. The damage to paddy fields can be minimized by collecting water in the paddy fields,” said Subedi.
Even though the scattered swarm has caused little damage to the crops so far, experts insist that a considerable swarm might enter Nepal, causing significant damage to the crops.
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