The Center has been requested to carry out aerial spraying in the flooded areas of Sindh – Pakistan

KARACHI: Amid rising cases of dengue fever and waterborne diseases, the Sindh administration has asked the federal government for an aircraft belonging to its plant protection department to carry out aerial fumigation in the flooded areas of the province .

The Sindh government made the request after struggling to control the situation through conventional methods of fumigation using sprayers and mosquito repellent equipment.

The new proposal follows suggestions from health authorities calling for effective fumigation in rural and urban areas of the province where flood survivors face several health issues, including serious risks of mosquito-borne infections.

So far, officials and sources familiar with the process have said that fumigating these areas using old techniques has proven highly ineffective.

Officials say conventional methods have failed to control mosquitoes due to inaccessible roads

“These methods include fumigation using spray machines,” an official said, citing different mosquito fumigation techniques in flood-affected neighborhoods.

The official continued: “These machines are sometimes mounted on vehicles while they are mainly carried out manually by local staff on foot in the streets or thoroughfares. The floods made several areas inaccessible for both vehicles and personnel. Second, the number of mosquitoes is so high that it cannot be treated with these conventional fumigation methods. »

He then discussed the use of aircraft for fumigation purposes mainly in flooded areas where standing water provides perfect conditions for mosquito breeding and these areas cannot be accessed for conventional fumigation.

“Second, you will recall that at the end of 2019, the provincial government used the plant protection aircraft to eliminate swarms of locusts,” he said. “The plane was called in when conventional spraying and fumigation methods failed to achieve the desired results. The same is true for the mosquitoes this time around.

The official said mosquitoes thrive in warm conditions while floodwaters also provide favorable conditions for their life cycle as they lay eggs in and around the water. “Areas affected by flooding are at great risk of disease amid this increased breeding.”

He said the plant protection department’s air wing was the only emergency response unit in the area. The main function of the wing, he said, was aerial spraying to control locusts while its other functions include crop spraying, seed broadcasting, hygiene spraying operation, distribution of leaflets for raising awareness and participation in spraying missions of foreign countries within the framework of bilateral agreements with friendly countries.

“The department’s air wing also has the technical workforce and maintenance support workshops duly approved by the Civil Aviation Authority. It is one of the oldest air wings in the subcontinent and it has played a major role in pest control in Pakistan,” he added.

The Sindh government recently allocated Rs 480 million to purchase mosquito repellent spraying equipment for 24 districts in the province following the increase in mosquito-borne diseases after the floods.

According to Sindh government data, over 3,000 people have been diagnosed with malaria and over 1,000 others with dengue in the current month in the province.

Posted in Dawn, September 19, 2022

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