Locust Swarm ‘Like the Plagues of Egypt’ Descends Upon Madagascar’s Capital

By ABC News

Aug 29, 2014 3:01pm

ABC News’ Mustafa Hameed (@mustafahameed) reports:


YouTube/Sylvain Lathuy

A swarm of millions of locusts descended upon Madagascar’s capital of Antananarivo on Aug. 28, slowing traffic and blotting out the skies over the city.

Fully-formed clouds of the insects, which have plagued the African nation for more than two years, whizzed through the city’s streets after an urban heat wave attracted the bugs away from their usual rural surroundings.

“It reminds us of the 10 plagues of Egypt,” said Ronald Miller, a missionary working in Madagascar with his family.

Miller captured video of the incident and posted it to his Facebook page.


Facebook/Ronald Miller

The current plague began in April 2012, leading to a national disaster declaration in Madagascar in November of that year, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The island nation’s government announced a three-year emergency plan in September 2013, when the locusts threatened food security of more than 13 million people, almost 60 percent of Madagascar’s population.

But while the images are alarming, FAO officer Annie Monard told Voice of America that the locust swarms in the city were caused by unusually high temperatures, not a new surge in the pest population. So far, the FAO and Madagascar’s government have succeeded in controlling the pests in over 4,600 square miles of agricultural land. Madagascar’s emergency plan will continue until 2016 and is expected to cost more than $41 million.

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