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A Second Wave Of Locust Invasion Hits Iran Hard

Swarms of desert locusts (Schistocerca gregaria) are posing serious threat to Iran's agriculture. FILE PHOTO

Iran’s Crop Protection Agency says currently seven provinces are hit by a large invasion of desert locust. Local officials in the badly affected areas call the natural disaster unprecedented.

Speaking to the state-run Iran Labor News Agency (ILNA), the spokesman of the agency, Reza Mir, disclosed that the provinces of Bushehr, Fars, Hormozgan, Kerman, Khuzestan, and Sistan&Baluchestan have already been under the desert locust attacks for the past few days, while parts of the province of South Khorasan have also been targeted by the invasive swarms. These regions are in the south and southeastern parts of the country.

The total area affected by the attacks has reached a total of about 300,000 hectares, of which Sistan&Baluchestan province with 82,000 hectares has the largest infested area.

In the meantime, the secretary of the Chabahar Agricultural Trade Union told Iran’s ILNA news website, "Compared with last year, the swarms of desert locusts are much larger, and it is safe to claim that the recent attacks are unprecedented".

This can be considered the second wave of locust invasion this year. In March vast regions of Iran were hit by swarms of locust coming from East Africa. Officials in April predicted a second wave to hit in May. The invasion reached Iran’s neighboring countries to the east and north.

The United Nations has described this year's locust attacks on East Africa as the worst in recent decades.

The locusts destroy all crops along their way and have been wreaking havoc in various African countries including Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda this year. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) desert locusts are a serious threat to food safety in these countries.