KARACHI      -           The first batch of China’s emergency aid arrived in Karachi on Monday morning to help Pakistan fight the ongoing locust disaster, Chinese Consul General Li Bijian said.

A Press release issued by the Chinese Consulate General in Karachi stated that under the plan Beijing would provide malathion and high-efficiency remote sprayers and other control materials to the Pakistani government for free.

The first batch of the materials includes 50,000 liters of malathion and 14 air-powered high-efficiency remote sprayers.

“The first batch of emergency aid to control the locust from China arrived in Karachi this morning,” the CG said. Officials from Department of Plant Protection were also present at the airport to receive the equipment.

Last month, Chinese experts had come to Pakistan and visited Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab from February 23 to March 4 to assess the damage caused by the locust swarm.

The group, after reviewing the situation, formulated a detailed assistance and training plan to deal with the crisis.

The strategy involved emergency deployment of disaster prevention materials including pesticides, spraying vehicles and urgent supply of monitoring equipment to assist Pakistan.

According to the expert group, in the current large-scale outbreak of the locust disaster in the country, the spraying of chemical pesticides and biological pesticides is more conducive to the emergency treatment of locust disasters.

The experts believe that the next four to six weeks will be a critical period for the eradication of locusts in Balochistan.

In January, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan had announced that Pakistan had declared a national emergency to combat locusts.

SAPM Awan in a tweet said that the decision was taken in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The meeting had also approved a National Action Plan to combat locust, she said, adding that a high-level committee has been constituted for taking steps at the federal level.

According to the press release the Chinese government also sent 12,000 kits to Pakistan for the detection of the coronavirus in the country.

“Although China has not yet completely conquered the novel coronavirus epidemic, it still provided Pakistan with 12,000 kits for novel coronavirus detection to express the profound friendship of the Chinese people to the Pakistani people as iron buddies,” said the Press release,

The kits arrived in Karachi with the chartered flight that brought the aid to fight the ongoing locust crisis.

The consulate has said that the kits have been handed over to the Pakistani officials.