Locusts attacked and harshly damaged cotton, mango and other crops in different cities of Sindh and southern Punjab, sparking fears of a looming food shortage in case the government fails to tackle the situation. The farmers have blamed the Agriculture Department for not taking concrete measures to save their crops from the attack of locusts. Locals said crops standing on hundreds of acre were destroyed by the swarms of grasshoppers in several villages.Sources informed that the area people are trying to get rid of the locusts on their own in order to save their crops from being damaged. According to sources, the locust attack cotton, mango and other crops in different areas of Rajanpur, Multan, district Muzaffargarh and Kandhkot.Sources further informed locusts attacked trees situated in parks and at sidewalks at the Qasim Bela, Old Shujabad road, Cantt, Chowk Shah Abbas, Vehari Road and Pull Bararan areas of Multan. Mango, cotton and other crops were damaged by the locust attack in Rajanpur, sources added. In Muzaffargarh, locusts attacked crops and mango orchards in Lutkaran, Doaaba, Chak Rohari, Lalpur, Sanki, Chak Mathan, and adjacent areas.As farmers described an unprecedented presence of the insatiable pests, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warned of a serious infestation that can lead to a major threat to food security.In a report prepared for Pakistan, the FAO has warned of a locust invasion. “Iran and Pakistan are especially prone as locust breeding is taking place in these areas, also due to the wet winter this year. In Pakistan, 38% of the area [60% in Balochistan, 25% in Sindh and 15% in Punjab] are breeding grounds for the desert locust, whereas the entire country is under the threat of invasion if the desert locust is not contained in the breeding regions.”These locusts are voracious eaters. At anywhere between 10 mm and 70 mm in size, depending on their growth cycle, an adult locust can eat its own weight in food every day — about two grams of fresh vegetation. They thrive in areas where rainfall and green vegetation are aplenty and breed rapidly to swell into havoc-wreaking swarms.