Khan assures provision of all necessary required resources to fight locust

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday announced to provide all necessary resources required for action against locust swarms in the country as he was briefed over the national action plan for their elimination.
Imran Khan held a meeting here in the federal capital to control locust swarm attacks and the chief minister of all the provinces and other officials attended it with some participating it via video link.
The Prime Minister was briefed during the review meeting 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 was briefed that district level bodies have also been 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 it.
The Prime Minister assured them that the government is 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.
Farmers are struggling to combat the worst locust plague in nearly three decades as insect swarms decimate entire harvests in the country’s agricultural heartlands and send food prices soaring.
Heavy rains and cyclones sparked ‘unprecedented’ breeding and the explosive growth of locust populations on the Arabian Peninsula early last year, according to the United Nations.
The insects have since fanned out and wreaked havoc on farms from East Africa to India before making their way into Pakistan from the desert on the country’s southwestern border with Iran.
The crisis is so severe that the government has declared a nationwide emergency and urgently appealed for help from the international community.
Local surveys of the damage are continuing, but the Sindh Chamber of Agriculture says nearly half of all crops have been destroyed near the port city of Karachi.
Meanwhile, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing has said that drugs weighing three hundred tons will arrive in Pakistan from China next week in the first phase to control the spread of locust in the country. He stated this during a meeting with Chairman National Disaster Management Authority Lt General Muhammad Afzal in Islamabad on Friday.
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.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said the present government would fully support every effort to highlight the true image of the country.
“Our foremost priority is to highlight Pakistanism, and protecting and promoting the culture and values of our society,” he said while presiding over a meeting held here regarding the revival of Pakistani film industry.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Special Assistant to the PM Syed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari, Secretary Information Akbar Hussain Durrani, Faraz Chaudhry, Peer Saad Ahsan-ud-Din and Zaurez Lashari attended the meeting.
Participants of the meeting presented various suggestions to the prime minister regarding the promotion of film industry and cinema in Pakistan. – NNI