NDMA activates hotline for registering complaints on locust attacks

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ISLAMABAD: In a bid to facilitate complaints related to locusts, the National Disaster Management Authority(NDMA) has activated a hotline 051-111-222-999 for registering and resolving issues pertaining to their attacks.

“The aggrieved farmers can register their complaints about the existence of locusts in their respective areas or need of spray on the hotline for 24 hours,” the NDMA spokesperson said in a statement released on Wednesday.

Earlier this week, locusts attacked and severely damaged cotton, mango and other crops in various cities of Sindh and southern Punjab, giving rise to fears of more damage in the days to come if appropriate steps are not taken to protect crops from the insects.

The locust attack took place in different areas of Multan, Rajanpur, Muzaffargarh and Kandhkot. Mango, cotton crops and rice saplings were severely damaged by the attack.

In this regard, Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah had also, earlier this month, warned Prime Minister Imran Khan that a “massive” locust attack could be expected after May 15 on the agricultural fields of the province.

In a letter to the premier, the chief minister said that he feared crops could be damaged if the fields weren’t sprayed in the coming days.

Sindh government had requested the Centre for assistance in this regard six months ago, unfortunately despite assurances, no co-operation had been received, he said.

On Tuesday, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman Lieutenant General Muhammad Afzal, in a media briefing, shared details of the steps taken to fight the locust attacks.

The NDMA chief had said that a massive operation is underway in Multan, Bahawalpur, Dera Ghazi Khan, and Faisalabad divisions, along with Okara, Bhakar, and Layyah districts.

“We have enough stock of pesticides in Pakistan to keep the locust attacks in check,” Afzal had said.

“China has provided 100,000 litres of Malathion, and 75,000 litres Lambda, while 50,000 more litres of the latter will come from Japan.”

In addition, he had said that the NDMA has ordered 100,000 litres each of these pesticides to undertake anti-locust spraying.

“The disaster management authority has also arranged nine planes for aerial spray in different parts of the country, including Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” Afzal had said.

He had said locusts can enter Pakistan from Iran and Muscat in the first and second weeks of the next month and the NDMA has deployed aeroplanes with sufficient spray equipment and pesticides in DG Khan, Dera Ismail Khan and along the Iran border to kill the insect then and there.

He said arrangements have also been made for anti-locust spraying in deserts of Thar and Cholistan.

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