The Lebanese authorities are preparing to respond to swarms of desert locusts that have reached several areas in eastern Lebanon, including Aarsal and Ras Baalbek.
On Friday morning, caretaker Agriculture Minister Abbas Mortada announced in a statement on Radio Lebanon that the Agriculture Ministry’s technical teams had conducted a survey of the areas that have witnessed locust swarms so far.
These surveys gave a general idea of the approximate area affected by these swarms, Mortada said, adding that despite their “acceptable” numbers and their restriction to a specific area so far, there is concern about their “rapid reproduction and advance.”
The official also announced that he had communicated with caretaker Defense Minister Zeina Akar and that Lebanese Army helicopters would start to spray the designated areas with the required chemicals, which have reached the Rayak Air Base.
Mortada warned of “the entry of additional swarms of locusts at any time,” calling on people, especially those living on the border with Syria, to immediately report sightings of locust swarms to the hotline 81/964621.
#TheLocust has become the top-trending hashtag on Twitter, where Lebanese are expressing concern about the potential consequence of these waves in the wake of the crippling crisis Lebanon is already going through.