Indian locusts: swarm sweeps Delhi suburb, Gurgaon

A swarm of locusts is observed in the village of Ghurpur, on the outskirts of Allahabad, on June 26, 2020.Image copyright


Locust infestations have been reported in several states in India.

Parts of the Indian capital, Delhi, have been put on alert after a swarm of locusts invaded a suburban area.

Correspondents say it is the first time that the suburban city of Gurgaon (Gurugram) has seen an invasion of locusts.

Images on social media showed tens of thousands of insects flying over buildings and landing on rooftops.

India is witnessing its worst locust invasion in decades. The swarms, which originate in the Horn of Africa, have eaten crops in several states.

On Saturday, Delhi’s environment minister Gopal Rai asked district authorities in the south and west of the city to remain on high alert, the Times of India reported.

Gurgaon residents were told to make loud noises with pots and pans or drums to try to keep lobsters away.

According to the ANI news agency, pilots entering and leaving Delhi’s international airport, which borders Gurgaon, have been asked to be very careful.

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Agriculture Ministry official KL Gurjar said the swarm appeared to be heading towards the city of Palwal, south of Delhi.

“The swarms moved from west to east. They entered Gurugram around 11.30 in the morning,” he told the PTI news agency.

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Media captionLocust swarms destroy crops across India

If left unchecked, desert locusts destroy food supplies and can cause famine.

According to the UN, current infestations date back to the 2018-19 cyclone season that brought heavy rains to the Arabian Peninsula. That allowed at least three generations of “unprecedented breeding” that went undetected. Since then, swarms have spread to eastern Africa, the Middle East, and southern Asia.