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Pakistani farmers have been struggling to combat the worst locust plague to hit the country in nearly three decades. Large parts of the country were hit by severe locust infestations since June 2019, with insect swarms decimating entire harvests in the country’s agricultural heartlands, leaving food prices soaring and many farming communities’ food insecure. On February 1st 2020, tackling the insects was declared as a national emergency as a large scale of crop land was destroyed in the country’s most fertile Punjab province.

Heavy rains and cyclones sparked “unprecedented” breeding and led to an explosive growth of locust populations on the Arabian Peninsula early last year. The same locust swarms made their way to Pakistan after wreaking havoc on agriculture lands in other neighboring countries, such as Iran. Locust swarms from southern Iran started migrating to Pakistan from the Iran-Baluchistan border. These locust swarms have since laid hundreds of thousands of pods which are likely to hatch as soon as they get a favorable environment. Local farmers feared their new batch of kharif seasonal crops would also be devoured by the locusts.

To mitigate further impact of the locust attacks on local small-scale farmers, Community World Service Asia (CWSA) in partnership with CWS Japan and Japan Platform (JPF) launched a project to assisted 1,600 farmer families with provision of cash grants for the tilling process in their lands. Under the project, 16,193 hectares (40,013 acres) of land has been cleared from locust eggs through introducing the tilling method to farmers in district Umerkot.

Tilling/ploughing is a renowned process used and adopted around the world to eradicate locust swarms. This process involves the ploughing of the infected land to a certain, carefully calculated depth and exposing the locust eggs to sunlight, which effectively destroys them.

“Community World Service Asia have been very supportive in Government’s effort to eradicate locust swarms by introducing innovative ideas that are much helpful for the communities. The trainings provided to the local farmers on Integrated Crop Management have made the communities resilient and have allowed them to mitigate the risks caused by the locust invasion,” shared Ayaz Kachelo, Agriculture O at the Agriculture Extension Department, Umerkot.

Through the project, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) of Pakistan has also been provided with 58,508 liters of Lambda Cyhalothrine insecticides to use for chemical application on the mature/adult locust swarms. The local farmers have also been further trained on Integrated Crop Management (ICM) and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques as part of the assistance. Since the tilling, use of chemical insecticides and the application of new farming techniques in the area no locust swarms have been seen. The farmers in the area have in fact also been able to cultivate their lands in time due to the effective tilling process.

“We were introduced to new techniques to eradicate locust swarms from our fields, such as digging trenches in the agricultural area. We have also been supported by the project teams in tilling/ploughing of our lands. The existing locust eggs on our lands were destroyed in the process. Our lands have finally been cleared from locust eggs, eradicating any future threat to our crops, and ensuring that the lands are ready for the next cropping season,” shared Nago, a sixty-year old local farmer from Nagho bheel village in Umerkot.

Sodho is the President of the Village Management Committee and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Committee of Male Jo Par Village in Umerkot, Pakistan. He has actively been working to promote sustainable farming practices and build community awareness on DRR to enhance community resilience on recurrent hazards and climate change impacts. The Village Management and the DRR Committees[1] were established in September 2020 under Community World Service Asia’s emergency response project[2], supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan.

“I have coordinated and helped the project team conduct 19 trainings focused on kitchen gardening, fuel efficient stoves, sustainable agricultural practices and DRR since last year. It is a relief to see that our people have the knowledge and skills to protect themselves from natural hazards.”

On September 24th, 2020, an orientation for VMC members was organised to share project objectives and to familiarise members with the role of the committee and as individual members.

“All 15 members, seven women and eight men, were explained their responsibilities as VMC members. We were taught on how and when to coordinate with the project team and how we can contribute in organising project activities. By the end of the training I was also elected as the President of the committee.” 

Sodho, along with fifteen other community members, participated in a training on DRR held in October 2020. All training participants shared and learned about common natural and man-made hazards such as earthquakes, floods and fire, experienced in the region.

“The knowledge on DRR was new to the community members. They now know of and are well aware of the different disasters that their people are faced with and have identified ways of alleviating and lessening its effects. Through the training, communities were provided technical knowledge on all kinds of hazards, developing disaster prevention plans and the importance and methods of raising community awareness on DRR.”

Sodho shared a recent accident where a fire broke out at a house in a nearby village. The family was saved but they suffered a massive loss as all their essential belongings and household items were burnt.

“As an active member of the VMC, I immediately called for a meeting to discuss how we can collect donations and help the family recover from the loss. We were able to collect some clothes, food items and essential household items for the family. Through the immediate help, the family found some relief and were hopeful to recover from the monetary and infrastructural loss sooner.”

“VMC members also organised a lesson learning session for their local communities on what they had learned at the DRR training to further enhance community knowledge and capacity on preparedness and mitigation. To overcome natural and man-made disasters, the participants were told about the different disasters and how to minimize the destruction they bring to affected areas. We also shared the story of the house-fire as an example and conducted drills to show what items to save first in the case of a fire and how to prevent the damage caused by such disasters.”

Kitchen gardening, primarily engaging women in the target villages, is another key component of the project. Sodho was personally quite interested in this initiative as having an opportunity to grow healthy vegetables at home seemed like a blessing and was a new concept introduced in the village.

“I saw the benefits of kitchen gardening immediately when the team shared the concept. Growing healthy vegetables at home can bring good health to families and save money as well which was otherwise mostly consumed on purchasing vegetables from the market.”

“I encouraged all women in the village including my own wife to participate in the kitchen gardening trainings. In the last winter season, my wife grew white radish, carrots, spinach, lady fingers and pumpkin in her new kitchen garden. I could see how much she enjoyed working and bringing seeds of different vegetables and fruits from the market to grow in her garden. She is now growing watermelon, guar[3], pumpkins, bottle gourd and lady fingers.”

Sodho further added that their village, Male Jo Par, has existed for the past hundred years and in these many years no-one had ever thought of starting kitchen gardening.

“We reside in the remote areas of Umerkot. The agriculture fields are faced by severe water scarcity. The land has low productivity due to unfertile soil and lack of water. We never thought of growing vegetables in our homes so conveniently with the help of home-made fertilisers and compost. Today, families in Male Jo Par grow garden-fresh vegetables on a daily basis, improving the quality and quantity of their food consumption, nutrition and well-being.”

Sodho also participated in a training session focused on sustainable agricultural practices for farmers, conducted in December 2020 under the project. Ten other small-scale farmers took part in this training.

“Before we took the training, all of us farmers stocked all seeds together in plastic containers and could not differentiate good ones from the bad ones. We would plough the land and sow all the seeds. Consequently, not all crops would grow well. The money that we spent ploughing and harvesting the land would be wasted as the produce would not be as fruitful as expected. This year was different. We stocked the seeds in Stoneware Pots (Matka) and before sowing them, we dried the seeds for at least three days under the sun. As a result, we had a good harvest this year.”

Our village has seen a positive change since the initiation of the DRR project. There has always been severe water scarcity in our area. The RO plant[4], which is being constructed in our village, will also help our people and those of surrounding villages to a great extent. It will provide clean drinking water at a walking distance. Our wives and daughters will not have to travel far places to collect water.”


[1] These are community based structures, members consisting of community people, who are responsible to coordinate project activities and awareness building. They are the key for sustainability and viability of project activities and mobilization of available local resource.

[2] Enhancing disaster resilience against droughts in Sindh Province

[3] Guar is an important legume crop. It is cultivated for fodder as well as for grain purpose.

[4] A reverse osmosis plant is a manufacturing plant where the process of reverse osmosis takes place. Reverse osmosis is a common process to purify or desalinate contaminated water by forcing water through a membrane.

A depression formed due to strong convective clouds over the south east of the Arabian Sea intensified into a severe cyclone storm named Cyclone TAUKTAE on May 15th. Centered at a distance of approximately 1640 km south-southeast of Karachi, the cyclone posed a potential catastrophic threat to parts of India and Pakistan. On May 16th however, the Pakistan Meteorological Department reported that the cyclone will not make a landfall along Pakistan’s coastal belt and has in fact further intensified into a Very Severe Cyclone Storm (VSCS), centering at a distance of 1210 km south-southeast of Karachi. Latest reports suggest that even though the storm will not directly hit Pakistan, widespread rains, dust/thunderstorms with heavy to very heavy falls and gusty winds of 70-90Km/h are likely to occur in Thatta, Badin, Tharparkar, Mirpurkhas, Sanghar and Umerkot districts of Sindh province in Pakistan from May 17th to 20th May 2021. The same weather conditions are likely to impact Karachi, Hyderabad, Jamshoro, Shaheed Bainazirabad, Sukkur, Larkana, Shikarpur, Jacobabad and Dadu districts from May 18th till May 20th.

The Government of Sindh has declared an emergency in all districts located at the coastal belt of the province. It has ordered to remove all bill boards in the area, cleared choking points of storm water drains and restricted fishermen from going into the sea or rivers until May 20th as part of preparatory measures.

Expected heavy rains in the mentioned districts may be life threatening, causing floods, severe damage to property and infrastructure and could leave affected-communities in need of Shelter, Food, NFIs[1] and WASH support.

Community World Service Asia Response:

Community World Service Asia is closely monitoring the situation. Its emergency response team is in close coordination and contact with the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Sindh and other relevant district offices of the Deputy Commissioners. The teams are on standby and will start relief operations immediately if required.

Contacts:

Shama Mall
Deputy Regional Director
Programs & Organisational Development
Email: hi2shama@cyber.net.pk
Tele: 92-21-34390541-4

Palwashay Arbab
Head of Communications
Email: palwashay.arbab@communityworldservice.asia
Tele: +92 42 35865338

Sources:
www.pmd.gov.pk
www.tribune.com.pk


[1] Non-Food Items

Mohan Maghwar, 35, lives with his wife and three children of seven & five years while little one is of three months old, in the remote village of Rantnor, located in the Thar Desertⁱ in the south of Pakistan. All kinds of natural life here is dependent on the annual rainwater. Rantnor is deprived of most basic survival facilities including healthcare, electricity, clean drinking water or sufficient livelihood sources.

Earning an income through traditional Sindhi cap weaving and manufacturing, Mohan was the sole breadwinner for his growing family. His wife would also help him with the weaving. He would receive many orders from the local markets and neighbouring buyers for which Mohan would buy raw materials and work on a fortnightly basis and then sell the finished product providing him a comfortable means to sustain his family. However, as COVID-19 struck the country, he soon lost his only source of livelihood.

Our lives were going fine before the coronavirus came in the country and the national lockdown was imposed. Before the pandemic, I was earning up to PKR 600 (approx. USD 4) on every cap my wife and I produced. Sadly, our work was suspended because of closure of markets and restrictions on gatherings. There were no orders to work on and no money to earn due to limited or no work opportunities. I was worried about making ends meet without any source of income.”

As a humanitarian response to the COVID-19 crisis, Community World Service Asia (CWSA), with support of United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), is implementing a project addressing the immediate needs of drought affected communities in Umerkot. Through the project, 1,206 families will be provided with two cash grants, each of PKR 12,000 (approx. USD $ 75/-) in September through mobile cash transfer services. This cash assistance is aimed at addressing the food insecurity caused by drought, repeated locust-attacks and the economic implications of COVID-19 on the most vulnerable communities in remote areas of Sindh.

Rantnor was among the project’s target villages due as the family’s livelihoods was severely affected by the lockdown amid COVID-19 and drought. CWSA’s team identified Mohan and his family as project pariticpant of this humanitarian response as they were most affected by not only COVID-19 but other natural and climate induced crises as well.  Mohan received two rounds of cash assistances of PKR 12000 each (Approx. USD 75) in August and October 2020.

“With the money received, I purchased groceries and invested some money in a business and established a small enterprise shop at home, as I have marketing experience and utilized the cash assistance in creating a livelihood opportunity.”


ⁱ 55kilometers from Pakistan’s Umerkot District

“I earn PKR 300 everyday (Approx. USD 3) working at a brick kiln. I also own ten acres of farmland; however, the cultivation is far less due to lack of rainfall and proper irrigation in the area. This year I was only able to grow Guar[1] on the field as the cash assistance provided by Community World Service Asia was consumed for tillage on the land. I purchased Guar seeds from a loan I took from a local seller. I am confident that I will be able to pay off the loan after the harvest season,” shares Mangal, a resident of Vickloker village, located in Umerkot. He lives with five other members of his family. Before the locust attacks they all lived a comfortable and content life together.

In 2019, Mangal cultivated Guar on his land, but the locust invasions completely destroyed the crops. The attacks proved to be catastrophic for the local crops in most parts of Southern Pakistan. Lack of harvest in the area affected the livelihoods of many farmers.

“The earnings we received after selling the crops helped us fulfil our family needs and household expenses. Sadly, this year we had nothing to sell or earn. The local farmers have followed conventional approaches to combat the attack of the locusts. These techniques included making noise and the use of fire smoke. Unfortunately, these attempts did not help much and most of the fields were left bare and eaten. As a result there was no harvest season.”

As part of an Emergency Response project, Community World Service Asia (CWSA), supported by Japan Platform, provided cash assistance to 1600 agrarian families this August. Rural families whose livelihoods were most affected by locust attacks and COVID-19 received conditional cash grants that helped farmers to plough lands to eradicate locust eggs before hatching.

“If effective steps to stop the hatching of new eggs are not taken, existing crops will be destroyed and this will eventually have a significant impact on farmers’ food security and welfare. However, the support we got this year saved us.”

Mangal’s family was among families that received a cash grant of PKR 13500/- (Approx. USD 86) under the emergency response project in Umerkot.

Mangal plans to save some of the harvested crops for household use and sell the rest in the local market as a means of livelihood.

“The money is going to help me repay the loan I took earlier to manage household expenses and to help me buy food for my family.”


[1] Guar is an important legume crop. It is cultivated for fodder as well as for grain purpose.

Ratni is a 70-year-old widow who lives with her son and his family in Senate John Colony, located in Pithoro of Umerkot district in Sindh, Pakistan. They all live together in a cob house made of mud and straw.

“My son, Khemchand, is a teacher at a local private school. He used to earn a reasonable monthly income of PKR 8000 before COVID-19 forced all schools in the region to shut down. The school administration discontinued paying its teachers as the school was not equipped to carry out online classes and there were no incoming student fees that could cover teachers’ salaries. However, the recent monsoons brought some relief to us agrarian communities. The rains have revived the agricultural activities and have given us opportunities to work on the fields. My son and daughter-in-law started working on the fields and were able to bring home some income through that. It was not much but was better than nothing. Sometimes, I would also assist them on the field to earn a bit more to make ends meets.”

The harvest season lasts three months in rain-fed areas of Umerkot and until the next monsoon season arrives, there will be less or no opportunities to work on the fields. Therefore, Ratni, Khemchand and his wife had no work to do once the three-month period ended in August.

“We had no livelihood by then and were forced to sell some of our household possessions to buy essential food supplies for the house and particularly for my four young grand-children. We also had to take some loan from our neighbours when there was nothing left to sell.”

Community World Service Asia (CWSA), with support of United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), is implementing a Humanitarian Assistance project responding to the immediate needs of drought affected Communities in Umerkot. As part of the project, 1, 206 families will be provided with two cash grants, each of PKR 12,000 in September through mobile cash transfer services to address food insecurity caused by drought, repeated locust-attacks and the economic implications of COVID-19.

Senate John Colony’s Village Committeeⁱ provided a list of families living in the area who were most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and other natural disasters to be supported through the project. As a result, CWSA’s emergency response team contacted Ratni as a project participant and she received the first cash assistance of PKR 12000 (Approx. USD 72).

“Through the money I received, I paid back the loans I had taken from neigbhours to survive in the last months and bought some food essentials for home. I have also saved some money to buy school books for my grandchildren for when the schools resume.”


ⁱ Village Committees are voluntary associations established for local administration. They are extra constitutional authorities comprised of 7-8 members including male and female from different caste in the village.

Dodo (far right) with his family

Dodo Maru Bheel is a 74-year-old father of two children, a son and a daughter, and a resident of Moriya village in UC Sekhro district of Umerkot, Sindh. He and his wife and younger daughter currently live with their son and his family (of six members, a wife and four children). Dodo has a visual impairment but he has never considered that as a disability or something that would hinder his life plans or goals. He is as resilient as can be and everyone in the village admires his determination and strength.

Dodo experienced a fatal road accident a few years ago. Due to an unavailability of an ambulance or timely first aid in the area, Dodo was unable to access appropriate medical facilities which further worsened his injuries from the accident. Since his financial conditions were unfavourable, he could not even afford most of the prescribed treatment at a bigger health centre in the nearest urban city. Dodo suffered a severe head injury which eventually lead him to lose his eye-sight completely.

With his sudden visual impairment, Dodo was unable to find any employment or paid work. He used to work as a daily labourer in the Umerkot city and surrounding areas. The elderly couple, along with their daughter, hence became financially dependent on their son. Their son, a daily wager, worked as a mason and the money he earnt barely met his own family’s basic day-to-day expenses, let alone a whole household of now nine members.

As the COVID-19 pandemic hit Pakistan, the government imposed a country-wide lockdown to restrict the spread of the virus. Many daily wagers lost their jobs during the lockdown; Dodo’s son was among them. The family could barely afford a single meal a day. Dodo and his son were struggling to keep their house running and their families fed. This dire situation prompted Dodo to sell a few of his goats during the days leading up to Eid-ul-Adha in late July 2020. His goats were his only remaining livestock and a supporting income means. Dodo also borrowed some money during the early days of the lockdown from a local landlord to meet their household expenses.

In April 2020, Dodo’s wife had received cash assistance of PKR 12000 (approx. US $ 71) from Ehsaas Kafalat Program as a part of the government’s COVID-19 relief fund. With that amount, Dodo and his wife planned to run a small scale, home-based business but his former creditors pushed him to pay back his loans with that amount so he was unable to use it for anything else.

The lockdown in the country has now eased but COVID-19 has left the country in a severe economic crisis that has pushed many underprivileged communities into poverty. Dodo and his son sold almost all the resources they had to sustain their family’s survival needs and are left with nothing now.

Community World Service Asia and UMCOR have initiated a project to respond to the needs of hazard and COVID-19 affected marginalised communities in rural Sindh. As part of the project, together with the support of village committees, the project selected Dodo as a participant of its cash-assistance. This will ensure that Dodo receives PKR 24000/- in two monthly installments to start his own small scale, home-based business.

Dodo and his family are happy to be selected and are looking forward to efficiently utilising the cash that they will receive next week and returning to a somewhat normal semblance of their life, as they did before the COVID-19 crisis. Dodo also hopes to save some of this money to consult an eye specialist for his eye-sight treatment.

Prepared by the Communications Office

August 26, 2020

This year’s fifth monsoon spell in Pakistan started on Monday August 24th and continued throughout Tuesday, swamping districts of Mirpurkhas, Umerkot, Tharparkar, Mithiari, Sanghar, Nowshero Feroze, Jamshoro, Tando Muhammad Khan, Tando Allahyar, Karachi, Thatta, Sujawal, Badin, Dadu, Hyderabad, Chor and Tando Jam in the Sindh province. Monsoon rains and subsequent flooding have left 90 people dead, 40 injured and large-scale infrastructural damage across Pakistan so far this year. Almost 900 houses have been fully damaged, while 195 have been partially damaged in the affected areas.

Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has confirmed 31 deaths in Sindh, 23 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 15 in Baluchistan, 10 in Gilgit Baltistan, 8 in Punjab and 3 in Pakistan Administered Kashmir during this monsoon season in Pakistan.

Many houses and public buildings, such as public hospitals, offices and schools, in rain-hit districts are flooded with rainwater and are currently inaccessible. The agrarian community has suffered even more massive damages to their land and harvests. Huge amounts of livestock in rural regions have also perished with the flash floods. Moreover, many rural communities in Badin and Tharparkar districts of Sindh have been displaced and have personally relocated to safer and more low-risk areas.

According to Pakistan Metrological Department, continued heavy rains and thunderstorms in lower Sindh are expected the week ahead which may further aggravate the situation. The Government of Sindh has therefore declared Emergency throughout the Sindh province.

Community World Service Asia’s (CWSA) Response

CWSA’s Emergency response team is currently providing emergency cash assistance to flood affected families in district Dadu and are engaged in relief operations responding to the needs of COVID-19 affected communities in district Umerkot and Karachi city of Sindh. The team is also regularly monitoring the rain and floods situation and plans to extend their humanitarian response to provide support to flood-affected communities in other areas when required.

Contacts:

Shama Mall
Deputy Regional Director
Programs & Organizational Development
Email: hi2shama@cyber.net.pk
Tele: 92-21-34390541-4 

Palwashay Arbab
Head of Communications
Email: palwashay.arbab@communityworldservice.asia
Tele: +92 42 3586 5338

Source:

www.ndma.gov.pk
www.tribune.com.pk
www.pmd.gov.pk

Photo credit: TRT World

This year’s fourth spell of monsoon rains, with three days of continuous downpour, has claimed at least sixty-eight lives, left many injured and caused large-scale infrastructural damage across Pakistan. The monsoon rains led flash floods have resulted in road blockages, breaches in canals and destruction of property.

An NDMA report confirmed the death of nineteen people in rain-related incidents in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, thirty in southern Sindh and Karachi city, eight in Punjab province and ten in the country’s scenic northern Gilgit-Baltistan region in the past three days.

In Balochistan, at least eight people have been killed, seventeen injured and 142 houses have been completely damaged after the monsoon rains hit land and resulted in heavy flooding in Khuzdar, Jhal Magsi, Lasbela, Gwadar, Pasni, Kachi, Dera Bugti districts and surrounding areas in Balochistan province. According to Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority(NDMA) reports, Sambli dam in Karkh of khuzdar district has been damaged, while nearly thirty villages and link roads in Jhal Magsi district have severely been affected by flood waters. More than a dozen people are still missing in Balochistan,” a spokesperson for the provincial disaster management authority, said.

A bridge at Pasni in District Gwadar along the Makran Coastal Highway and another bridge at Bibi Nani in Bolan district have been damaged resulting in a massive traffic suspension on both ends. Similarly, more roads in the surrounding districts have been blocked due to rain induced land sliding and flooding.  Gas pipe lines in Bolan have also been reportedly damaged by flood water.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 100 houses have been partially damaged and two have been made completely unlivable. There has been severe damage to standing crops, trees and civil irrigation channels in the province.

Different parts of Sindh including large urban hubs such as Karachi, Hyderabad and other districts namely Shaheed Benazirabad, Sakrand, Tando Jam and Thatta have been severely impacted by the heavy rainfall. Property damages have been reported in the affected areas. Majority of the deaths in Sindh have been reported in Karachi alone, with rain led electrocution being the main cause. Standing water, disrupting communication and transport, is also reported in many areas. Moreover, 28 ft. of water from hill torrents of Balochistan entered Nai Gaj, Tehsil Johi, District Dadu of Sindh. Over-flowing water from Nai Gaj has affected fifty villages in the province’s Kachho area.

Community World Service Asia (CWSA) Response

CWSA’s Emergency response team is currently engaged in relief operations responding to the needs of COVID-19 affected communities in district Umerkot and Karachi city of Sindh. The team is regularly monitoring the rain and floods situation and will plan a humanitarian response to provide support to flood-affected communities when required.

Source:

www.ndma.gov.pk
www.dawn.com.pk
www.aljazeera.com

Contacts:

Shama Mall
Deputy Regional Director
Programs & Organizational Development
Email: hi2shama@cyber.net.pk
Tele: 92-21-34390541-4 

Palwashay Arbab
Head of Communications
Email: palwashay.arbab@communityworldservice.asia
Tele: +92 42 3586 5338

Prepared by Community World Service Asia’s Communication Office

Community World Service Asia (CWSA) is working in partnership with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to combat locust infestations in various parts of Pakistan. Through financial support from the Japanese Embassy in Islamabad, Japan Platform and CWS Japan, 58,502 liters of Lambda Cyhalothrine EC2.5% pesticides are provided to Provincial Disaster Management Authorities (PDMAs) of the respective provinces. The intervention will ensure a safe and secure application of the pesticides as per the plant protection guidelines. CWSA is also supporting 1,600 farmer families with conditional cash grants for tilling/ploughing of lands to eradicate the locust eggs before hatching. With this support, around 16,187 hectares of land will be made free of locust eggs and will be prepared for the next cultivation. As an additional preparedness measure, around 2,000 farmers will be trained on Integrated Crop Management and Integrated Pest Management approaches to be able to efficiently manage similar threats in the future.

Many Pakistani farmers, particularly in Pakistan’s Sindh province, are currently struggling to combat a series of natural hazards that have left agrarian communities crumbling. The country’s agricultural sector has been struggling for years in the face of drought and dwindling water supplies and since last year has been hit by the worst locust plague to hit the country in nearly three decades. Showing no remorse, the COVID-19 landed in Pakistan with full intensity in March and has since endangered lives and livelihoods of millions of Pakistani people.

On Sunday July 5th the country was hit by its first monsoon rains that wreaked havoc in Karachi and other areas of Sindh further damaging crops and threatening lives. The rains are expected to continue pouring with the same intensity through the season. This will further drive Sindh’s most vulnerable rural communities into extreme poverty and famine.

Pakistan declared tackling the locust infestation as a national emergency in February 2020 as it destroyed huge areas of crop lands in the country’s most fertile province of Punjab. The Locusts have decimated entire harvests in the country’s agricultural heartlands and have sent food prices spiraling. The agriculture sector that provides food security and livelihoods to a large majority of Pakistan’s population has been damaged and severely threatened. 

Since June 2019, thirty-eight percent of Pakistan’s land (60% in Baluchistan, 25% in Sindh and 15% in Punjab) has become a breeding ground for the desert locust. If the breeding regions do not contain the hazardous pests, the entire country could well be threatened by a locust invasion (FAO).  

The Food and Agriculture Organization has warned of ‘potentially serious food security crisis this year in several regional countries including Pakistan due to locust attacks’.

Community World Service Asia continues to work in close collaboration with the NDMA, PDMA[1] Sindh, local government bodies, district office and the local communities to manage these disasters, provide relief and rehabilitate affected communities with the utmost respect and dignity.


[1] Provincial Disaster Management Authority

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