Islamabad                  -                 A high-level review meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday resolved to use all necessary resources required for action against locust swarms in the country.

The meeting reviewed steps taken to exterminate the pest. All the four chief ministers also participated in the meeting through video link.

The prime minister was briefed that committees for inter-provincial coordination, surveillance and monitoring purposes are formed while an apex committee to deal with the matter and control room was also established.

He said it is a national emergency and the federal government would take allout efforts to control the locust.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, while participating in the meeting via video link from the CM House, said that his government has spent 696.19 million rupees to control the attacks but the threat was so serious that there is a dire need to devise a National Action Plan to control the situation.

He said breeding season of locust which has settled in the deserts of Thar and Nara would start breeding from July to December and during the same period they would breed in Cholistan of Punjab.

Talking about the losses caused by the locust swarm attacks, the Sindh chief minister said that 168,701 acres of cropping area have been affected, while 997,260 acres of desert area have also been affected by the locust.

The chief minister also urged the prime minister to hire an aircraft from China or UAE for conducting aerial spray.

It was briefed that district level bodies were also formed to deal with the matter. The prime minister was also informed regarding cooperation with China to tackle locusts attack in the country.

“We have also provided funds to National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA),” the finance ministry official said.

The chief ministers of the provinces also briefed the premier over the situation and conveyed their suggestions to deal with the situation.

The prime minister assured them that the government was aware of the seriousness of the matter and it is necessary to improve coordination between the federal and provincial authorities to deal with the issue.

“We are committed to provide all resources for eliminating locusts from the country,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing, during a meeting with Chairman National Disaster Management Authority Lt. Genera, Muhammad Afzal, here sadi that drugs weighing 300 tons will arrive in Pakistan from China next week in the first phase to control the locust spread in the country. 

He said China will provide anti-locust spray and machinery to Pakistan in three phases.

Yao Jing said Chinese technicians will also train Pakistani workers in the use of spray machinery.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chairman NDMA said China can help Pakistan control locust and establishment of an emergency air ambulance service.

It was attended by Minister for National Food Security Khusro Bakhtyar, Advisor on Finance Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Special Assistant Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan and other senior officials.

On February 06, the Ministry of National Food Security and Research announced that it has decided to declare a national emergency over locusts attack in parts of the country and a summary in this regard is conveyed to the federal cabinet.

The ministry said that after a gap of 30 years, the locusts have once again attacked the country.