China has deployed over 100,000 soldiers near the Pakistan border to fight a growing menace which India, Pakistan and China are increasingly wary of. The soldiers deployed by China are not the PLA forces but an army of 100,000 ducks.
A video released by China’s state-run news website CGTN shows thousands of ducks tottering down a road to take-on over 400 billion locusts threatening the country near the border where it meets Pakistan and India.
Locusts, which can decimate almost all green vegetation have thronged swathes of agricultural land on the India-Pakistan border, an area identified as a global hotspot for the pests by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
The outbreak has raised concerns in neighbouring China, where an economic downturn is already being made worse by the spread of a new coronavirus that has killed over 2400 people so far.
However, officials at the FAO have played down the threat, saying a huge plague of locusts was unlikely.“There is no threat to China by the desert locust because of a) the wind direction and b) they cannot cross the Himalaya Mountains because they are too tall and the air is too cold – so this is a natural barrier,” said FAO’s senior locust forecasting officer Keith Cressman stated.
China has allocated S$200 million for the prevention and control of pests, including US$4.2 million for locust prevention and control in 15 provinces, according to a Reuters report on Friday. The agriculture ministry said last week it was closely monitoring the locusts’ movements and stepping up prevention efforts, especially in southwest Yunnan province and Tibet, regions close to India and Pakistan, Chinese state media reported.
Earlier, Pakistan declared a national emergency over locust swarms early this month after the food ministry gave a briefing to parliament, warning that the country was facing the worst locust infestation in two decades.
Desert locusts, large herbivores that resemble grasshoppers, are said to have arrived in Pakistan from Iran and have already damaged maze, cotton, wheat and other crops.