Worst Locust Attack in 3 Decades is Haunting North India. It Really Seems Like the End of the World


Worst Locust Attack in 3 Decades is Haunting North India. It Really Seems Like the End of the World

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

India will remember 2020 for a long time, and the memories will cause you to shudder. First, the coronavirus pandemic caused a nationwide lockdown. Then, Cyclone Amphan, one of the deadliest recorded storms from the Bay of Bengal, swept over India’s eastern coast causing untold devastation. And now, a swarm of locusts from the Middle East has arrived in North India, posing a serious threat to food security, as these invasive insects are known to destroy entire crop harvests when they descend in their giant swarms.

The first sightings of the locusts were reported last week. But by Monday, it was clear that the swarm had arrived as the locusts swept through multiple Indian states, including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra.

As of now, Rajasthan is the worst-hit state by the locusts in all of India. Reports have claimed that 16 out of the state’s 33 districts have witnessed swarms. While the locusts pose the greatest threat to cultivated land, the swarm has also arrived in Jaipur, covering rooftops and homes in terrifying visuals.

Against the backdrop of the pandemic, there are fears that the locusts could ruin the summer harvest of the farmers in the states that they enter. This could have a domino effect, leading to a nationwide food shortage if the locust threat is not contained.

There have been calls on social media for the government to announce its plan for dealing with the invasive locusts. The scale of the devastation seen in Pakistan’s province of Sindh is being used as a warning for what may take place in India if the locusts are allowed to swarm unchecked.

India is not alone in dealing with this massive swarm of crop-destroying insects. Neighbouring Pakistan, as well as Middle Eastern and African nations like Iran and Ethiopia have also seen this swarm, which originated in the arid regions of those countries before migrating eastward toward India.

After the strange summer we’ve had, an influx of desert locusts. Sometimes it seems like the world is coming to an end.