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Locusts invade Lebanon and warnings of more

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For the second consecutive day, the Lebanese Army announced that its military helicopters will continue spraying insecticides in the Labweh area in the Bekaa, as part of measures to combat the locust swarms, limit their spread and eliminate them.

The move comes the day after the arrival of the first swarms of desert locusts covering agricultural lands in the highlands of Arsal, as recorded video footage since Friday morning showed.

On Saturday, Lebanon issued a warning on the second day of the arrival of locusts in the Bekaa region, in the east of the country, against tolerating the threat of locust swarms that may reach the country more, in an additional challenge facing Lebanon, which is mired in the
persecution of economic and political difficulties and crises.

The Minister of Agriculture in the caretaker government, Abbas Mortada, said during a meeting with the heads of municipal unions and heads of major municipalities in Baalbek-Hermel, “We were surprised by climate changes that changed the path of the locust swarms and accelerated their entry into the Lebanese airspace,” warning that they are in the breeding stage.

The Lebanese minister warned that “this challenge should not be underestimated, and that any leniency may render us unable to combat reproduction, especially in light of the presence of reports from international organizations about new waves that may flock to the region.”

The Lebanese authorities fear that the first swarms that crossed from the Syrian territories to the barren areas of Arsal and Ras Baalbek will be an indication of the approaching arrival of other swarms, in the event of a change in the direction of the southern winds, they will be larger and the authorities will not be able to combat them.

In light of the difficult economic situation faced by the Lebanese with the collapse of the value of the lira and the faltering of banks, news of the arrival of locusts to the eastern border regions of Lebanon revived sad memories of the famine that struck the country during the First World War, which was among the causes of a devastating locust wave that devoured agricultural crops.

This is not the first time that Lebanon has witnessed the arrival of swarms of locusts, as this is a phenomenon that occurs every few years, albeit on a smaller scale than what happened during the First World War.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the desert locust is the most destructive migratory pest in the world, and it consumes as much as its weight in food per day.

And just one square kilometer of a swarm can contain up to 80 million adult locusts, which in one day can consume as much food as 35,000 people.

Therefore, when swarms become large and widespread, they pose a major threat to food security, according to the “FAO”.

The “FAO” has made combating the spread of desert locusts in the year 2020 a top priority.

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