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Waves of locusts have made their way from Iran and Pakistan to half a dozen central and western Indian states in search of harvested crops in the country.
Now the government has ramped their response to what has been labeled the country’s worst locust attack in nearly three decades.
The outbreak just adds to the growing list of problems for the country of over one billion, which continues to grapple with the coronavirus outbreak, mass unemployment, a heatwave as well as a recent deadly cyclone.
“I got out of my room and came out on my terrace at around 10 a.m. and saw a long shadow on the ground. I just stood still. It was something I had never seen in my lifetime,” said Nikhil Misra, a lawyer in Jaipur, Rajasthan, a city of four million.
“I looked up and saw a cloud, not the cloud that gives you rainfall, but a cloud of locusts, thousands and thousands of them hovering over my head,” he said.
“It was a silent attack. It was a strange kind of fear, as if being overtaken by aliens.”
Scientists believe the situation has been worsened by climate change and similar to the ongoing outbreaks in East Africa.
The movement of the swarms depends on the winds and are capable of traveling up to 95 miles (152.88 kilometers) per day and can eat as much food as 35,000 people in a day.
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