It is the same locust God used against the Egyptians in the epic Bible Book of Exodus. The Desert Locust (Schistocerca gregaria), and they are the most destructive migratory pest in the world. The massive Plague of locusts is set to descend upon the Middle East in time for Passover, however, the swarms are expecting to miss the Holy Land. (Where have we heard this before?)
On January the 11th, 2019, the holiest site in Islam was swarmed by a small plague of locusts, forcing cleaners into action to drive the insects out. The Great Mosque in Mecca, which hosts millions of Muslim pilgrims every year and is the holiest site in Islam was the birthplace of a plague which in just over 12 months would grow into billions, stretching from the western border of China sweeping through Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, through Arabia the Middle East, northern Africa and all the way down to Southern Africa. Full Story
The Plague of locusts is set to descend upon the Middle East in time for Passover but will skip the Holy Land. A plague of locusts the likes of which have been unseen for over 30 years is about to hit Africa and the Middle East. Adding to the perfect biblical storm, the current coronavirus pandemic is affecting the travel of international experts and in-country gatherings for training to combat the locust threat, said Rome-based Senior Locust Forecasting Officer Keith Cressman on Monday. Cressman works at Locust Watch, a division of the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, which gives emergency assistance to countries facing desert locust invasions and constantly monitors the status of potential infestations. According to the organization’s most recent forecast report, there are new “extremely alarming” swarms forming in the Horn of Africa. The Desert Locust (Schistocerca gregaria) “is the most destructive migratory pest in the world,” according to the Locust Watch website. As depicted in the Book of Exodus, when the highly mobile swarms of Desert Locust form, “they are ravenous eaters who consume their own weight per day, targeting food crops and forage.” While one locust may not seem a major fresser (eater, Yiddish), the swarms can grow to millions of individuals, “with the capacity to consume the same amount of food in one day as 35,000 people.” TTOI
New swarms continue forming in the Horn of Africa The situation remains extremely alarming in the Horn of Africa, specifically Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia where widespread breeding is in progress and new swarms are starting to form, representing an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods at the beginning of the upcoming cropping season.
KENYA. Hopper bands continue to develop and form an increasing number of first-generation immature swarms in northern and central counties. Further concentration expected in Marsabit and Turkana. Aerial and ground control operations continue.
ETHIOPIA. No new information received. Hopper bands continue to form within a widespread area of Oromiya and SNNPR regions, including the Rift Valley. A new generation of immature swarms is likely to have started forming in some areas. Aerial and ground control operations continue.
YEMEN. Hopper bands forming on the southern coast near Aden where control was carried out. The situation is not well known in other areas where breeding is likely underway.
IRAN. Swarms and adult groups continue laying eggs in the southwest (southern Khuzestan, Busherh, southern Fars, western Hormozgan provinces). Hatching and band formation imminent. Local breeding continues in the southeast where hoppers are forming groups and bands in eastern Hormozgan. Control operations are in progress.
SUDAN. Two immature swarms appeared on the southern coast of Red Sea on the 14th. Scattered adults along with parts of the coast.
ERITREA. Conditions drying out on the central and northern coast. Control operations continue against groups of late instar hoppers and immature adults on the Buri Peninsula and in the Dahlak Islands.
EGYPT. Late instar hopper groups treated at one place on the Red Sea coast in the southeast.
SAUDI ARABIA. Control operations against one mature swarm and groups of laying adult near the Persian Gulf between Al Hofuf and Kuwait and a few mature groups in the northern interior south of Al Jawf.
OMAN. Hatching on the north coast and control operations against early instar hopper groups, and continue against late instar hopper groups on the east coast. FAO
2020 Locust Plague
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