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Locusts plunder crops in southwest China

Locusts plunder crops in southwest China
Authorities in Yunnan Province, China said Tuesday the region has been battling locusts that have damaged local crops in Pu'er and other areas. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 4 (UPI) -- Swarms of locusts have destroyed crops in China's southwestern Yunnan Province, as the country braces for more flooding in other regions.

The Forestry Department of Yunnan Province said farmers in Pu'er, a city in the province, and other areas have reported severe damage to crops over nearly 40 square miles of land, China Central Television and Xinhua news agency reported Tuesday.

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The locusts have caused trouble for Chinese farmers every summer for the past three years, according to Caixin Global. But the damage that began in July was on a "scale not seen in years," the report says, quoting farmers in the province.

The locusts have been multiplying in number, while ravaging local crops of bamboo, corn and plantains, according to Yunnan authorities.

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The insects have been identified as yellow-spined bamboo locusts, found in China, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam.

"Because the weather had cleared and the temperature was right, a second round of locusts made their move," authorities said, according to Chinese state media.

Provincial authorities have deployed dozens of drones to monitor crops and have mobilized a team of 57,000 emergency workers to fight the pests, according to Caixin.

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Farmers in southwest China are struggling with locusts at a time when the country is coping with heavy rains, with more torrential downpours expected in the coming days.

Water levels at the Three Gorges Dam reached nearly 530 feet on Tuesday, Chinese authorities said. Some of the water was let out in July, flooding areas downstream, according to eyewitnesses.

The maximum reservoir water level for the dam is 574 feet, according to Xinhua.

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