Millipede swarms force Kupwara villagers to flee

Millipede swarms force Kupwara villagers to flee
  • The insects occupy homes at night, most residents out in the open, some shift children and cattle to other villages

KUPWARA: Thousands of millipedes have swarmed a village in the border town of Kupwara, forcing the residents to flee from their homes.
For the past 11 days, the inhabitants of Gund Jahangir village in Kupwara have been spending their nights in the open, away from their village, as thousands of wild millipedes from the nearby forests have occupied their houses.
Some families, who have not left their homes, have been sleeping in makeshift beds slung from the roofs to escape the insect invasion. Residents said that thousands of black and white millipedes, about 8-10 cm long, enter their houses after sunset, and swarm over everything and even eat up consumables. “It is so scary. They are eating our food and damaging other commodities inside the houses. We feel helpless,” said Irshad Ahmad, a local. “Some villagers have shifted their children and cattle to neighbouring villages while most villagers here are living out in the open,” he said.
The village is about 12 km away from the main town of Kupwara and lies very close to the forest. Officials visiting the village have also expressed helplessness over how to control the insects.
Divisional Forest Officer Kupwara Mohammad Ayoub Sheikh said they had sprayed an insecticide around the village, which had helped to control the movement of the insects towards the village to some extent. “As per our primary investigation these insects are not very harmful. However, we have also contacted the department of entomology (from SKUAST) and their team will be arriving in the area soon,” Sheikh said. However, even late on Thursday, locals said no such team had come to the area.
Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara, Kumar Raj Ranjan did not respond to calls from Kashmir Reader.