New Delhi: The Pakistan government has declared a national emergency coming under the attack of swarms of desert locusts which have wiped out crops in Sindh and are now entering Punjab. The decision was taken at a recent meeting convened by Prime Minister Imran Khan, reports Dawn news.

The meeting attended by federal ministers and senior officials of the four provinces also approved a National Action Plan (NAP) that requires a sum of 7.3 billion Pakistani rupees to overcome the crisis.

Imran Khan directed the authorities concerned to take all necessary steps on an emergency basis to contain the locust outbreak in the country and to prevent crop losses.

The menace was first spotted in March 2019. The issue is troubling India’s Punjab as well. Amid farmers fearing damage to their crops because of locust attacks in three districts of Punjab, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to raise the issue with Pakistan for taking effective steps to check the pests from breeding there.

The CM warned that any failure to control the swarms of locusts could lead to serious implications and consequences for agricultural production in India, especially in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat, which will ultimately affect commodity prices and food security of the country.

Locusts are short-horned grasshoppers with highly migratory habits and voracious feeding behaviour. Their appearance in the winter months is a new phenomenon.