enfrdeelitjaptes

Plague

  • Apocalyptic Sandstorm and Biblical Locust Plague Blacken the Sky in Egypt and Iran – Giant hail Slams Mexico

    On the same day, a gigantic swarm of locusts invaded southern Iran and a massive sandstorm engulfed Aswan, Egypt, blocking the sun and turning day into night. A few days before giant hail slammed General Terán, Nuevo León State, Mexico

    Apocalyptic and biblical events are becoming the new normal. Strong earthquakes, devastating volcanic eruptions, gigantic hail, massive sandstorms and apocalyptic locust plagues. But what’s going on?

    Biblical locust plague in southern Iran

    A locust storm is currently engulfing southern Iran. There are so many swarming insects that they are blocking the sun and changing blue sky into a ‘dirt’ sky:

    Officials have called military to help fight the locust plague, that is threatening crops and livelyhoods of millions of people.

    Eight provinces ranging from southwest to southeast and eastern Iran are reporting locus storms.

    Exodus 10:12: And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, [even] all that the hail hath left.

    Apocalyptic hail slams General Terán, Mexico

    The major hailstorm occurred on May 13, 2020 in the municipality of General Teran, Nuevo Leon, north-eastern Mexico:

    The large hail destroyed fruit trees and crops, damaged homes and cars and disrupted power supply.

    Isaiah 28:17 Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.

    Massive dust storm changes day into night in Egypt

    The huge wall of sand engulfed the city of Aswan in souther Egypt on May 16, 2020.

    The sandstorm of biblical proportions changed day into night.

    Deuteronomy 28:24-26:

    24: He will send dust and sandstorms instead of rain, and you will be wiped out.

    25: The Lord will let you be defeated by your enemies, and you will scatter in all directions. You will be a horrible sight for the other nations to see,

    26: and no one will disturb the birds and wild animals while they eat your dead bodies.

    Are we entering the End Times? Is the world as we know it going to end soon?

  • Apocalyptic Swarm of Beatles Wash Ashore in the UK

    Akin to the biblical plague of locusts that, according to the Passover story, was one of the Ten Plagues sent upon the Egyptians for refusing to let the Jewish people leave Egypt, a mysterious plague of 100,000s of dead beetles have inexplicably washed up on the beach in Yorkshire, UK on April 13, 2020…

    Thousands if not millions of bugs have appeared all over a beach in Yorkshirecovering huge parts of the beach at Cayton Bay, near Scarborough.

    Same dead flies/beetles crazyness along other beaches in Cayton Bay.

    Some have speculated that the insects are Lochmaea suturalis, commonly known as heather beetles because they feed on the plant.

    The beetles are native to the region and may have migrated over from the North Yorkshire Moors.

    But a statement released on Tuesday by the Scarborough and Burniston Coastguard Rescue Team suggested the bugs were European Chafer Beetles usually only found in mainland Europe.

    The statement said: “Yesterday afternoon whilst the team were on a coastal patrol, a member of the public alerted them to something strange on the beach.

    It appears that a large number of European Chafer Beetles have washed up on a few beaches around Scarborough.

    The Coastguard Counter Pollution team have been informed so the source can be investigated.

    Weird, some mainland beetles found in a coastal area. In any cases, it’s an apocalyptic insect mass die-off.

  • Bracing for the Second Wave of Locust Invasion

    The second wave desert locusts, 20 times bigger than the first one, will soon ravage farms in Kenya and East Africa, experts have warned.

    The new swarms expected to hatch in May will be descendants of the first generation that the Horn of Africa countries are battling to contain with little or no success.

    “The first generation of locusts is now breeding, they’ve laid their eggs; they’ll be hatching into nymphs and hoppers,” said Food and Agriculture Organisation (Fao) representative to Kenya Tobias Takavarasha in an interview with Thomson Reuters Foundation News.

    “So this is the time to harness or control them before they start flying or before they start to affect the coming planting season.”

    Scientists estimate that the swarms in East Africa will be 400 times bigger by June if successive generations are not eliminated.

    In Kenya, more than 20 counties - including Mandera, Wajir, Samburu, Isiolo, Garissa, Baringo, Turkana, Laikipia, Meru, Kitui, Embu, Machakos, Murang’a, Makueni and Kajiado - have been infested by the insects.

    WORRYING SITUATION

    The Fao has warned that rains that fell in the later part of March could boost the breeding of the insects.

    Already, hopper bands and an increasing number of new swarms are forming in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, with the Desert Locust Control Organisation for Eastern Africa (DLCO-EA) warning that the situation in Kenya could get serious, because the swarms, particularly those in Somalia, could soon enter the country.

    In Kenya, according to communication from Fao, more first-generation immature swarms are also forming throughout the northern and central counties and they are maturing, with some expected to be ready to lay eggs from within the coming week and continue to May.

    The phenomenon, which coincides with the onset of the long rains and hence the planting season, presents a big threat to the regions’ food security and livelihoods, even as the entire region, reels from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

    Fao warned that the situation in Iran and Yemen is becoming increasingly worrying as swarms laid eggs along a 900km stretch of shoreline in southwest Iran, which are hatching and new hopper bands are forming.

    FOOD INSECURITY

    But DLCO-EA director Stephen Njoka said they are doing all they can to have the situation under control.

    “The country remains under threat as long as the locusts are not controlled in the Horn of Africa region, where new swarms are continually forming,” said Dr Njoka.

    Fao has estimated that up to 20.2 million people living in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia could be affected by food insecurity posed by the swarms, whose numbers are projected to increase up to 400 times if left unchecked.

    The agency requires about Sh16.2 billion for its rapid response and anticipatory action in the 10 countries so far affected by the plague.

  • Giant Asian hornets to invade virus-stricken U.S.

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    Giant Asian hornets that have begun to invade the coronavirus-stricken U.S. may cost the economy millions of dollars a year.

    The insects, which can kill with a single sting, may have a devastating impact on the already dwindling honeybee population in the U.S.

    Experts estimate the pests may cause America a staggering $29.3 million as they invade.

    The invasion is projected as a coronavirus-stricken U.S. is already facing economic setbacks.

    Millions are out of work – with nearly 17 million applying for unemployment in the last three weeks alone – as more than 432,000 cases of the virus have been confirmed in the U.S. alone.

    Many experts have warned of a looming recession, as businesses have been forced to shutter their doors due to stay-at-home orders.

    Asian hornets are similar to European hornets that live in the U.S., but they are not native to America.

    They are large insects measuring almost 2in long, originally from Southeast Asia, that prey on small creatures - especially bees.

    Just one sting is enough to kill someone allergic to their venom.

    The yellow legged critters were accidentally introduced to France from China in 2004 and they have been spreading rapidly throughout Europe and other parts of the world ever since.

    Experts estimate the Asian hornet colonised most of France at a rate of roughly 37 to 50 miles per year.

    And the species has swiftly been invading other countries including Spain in 2010, Portugal and Belgium in 2011, Italy in 2012 and Germany in 2014.

    The invasive hornets made it to the UK in 2016 – and in December 2019, were first spotted in the U.S. in Washington.

    Experts are now warning that the species will begin to swarm in spring, as the hornet's life cycle begins in April.

    In a new study – published first in the journal NeoBiota – French scientists evaluated the estimated cost of this non-native hornet invasion to the U.S. and Europe.

    They did so by analysing the negative impact Asian hornets have on ecosystems and the global decline in pollination and honey production.

    The invasion is mainly controlled by destroying hornet nests and bait trapping.

    But the authors say these methods are not enough to completely eradicate the species.

    The team divided costs into three main categories - prevention of the invasion, fighting the invasion, and damage caused by the invasion.

    The cost of fighting the invasion was the price of nest destruction - calculated by studying the companies that provide the service.

    Research leader Professor Franck Courchamp said just two years after the hornet was first spotted in France, estimates show it cost roughly $446,000 to destroy nests.

    "Since then, the estimated yearly costs have been increasing by about 450,000 euros each year (roughly $492,000), as the hornet keeps spreading and invades new departments.

    Courchamp said over a ten-year period – from 2006 to 2015, the nest destruction cost more than $25 million, according to estimates.

    So far, nest destruction is the most effective way to fight the invasion but experts say it is not enough to kill off the species.

    Only 30 to 40 per cent of the detected nests are destroyed each year in France.

    And those that are destroyed are the ones that have been deemed particularly harmful to human or beekeeping activities.

    The scientists are calling for more active measures and research into the invasion of Asian hornets.

    Professor Courchamp said: "The current study presents only the first estimates of the economic costs resulting from the Asian hornet, but definitely more actions need to be taken in order to handle harmful invasive species - one of the greatest threats to biodiversity and ecosystem functioning."

    Experts in Washington are calling for people to take action now, so the species can be controlled before it becomes out of hand.

    “As a new species entering our state, this is the first drop in the bucket,” Todd Murray, WSU Extension entomologist and invasive species specialist told Washington State University.

    Murray said once invasive species take a foothold, they cause "forever changes" to agriculture and ecosystems.

    “We need to teach people how to recognize and identify this hornet while populations are small, so that we can eradicate it while we still have a chance.”

  • Iran Faces Unprecedented Locust Invasion

    Iran is under its worst desert locust outbreak in the past 50 years and for the second year in a row. Compared with last year, the swarms of desert locusts are much larger, and it is safe to claim that the recent attacks are unprecedented, officials said.

    According to the Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) situation update on May 27, 2020, adult locusts are forming groups and small swarms in spring breeding areas along parts of Sistan-Baluchistan and the southern coast area as vegetation is drying out. 

    FAO noted that the infestations will continue moving east to the Indo-Pakistan summer breeding areas. With the worsening situation, Iran may deploy its military to help contain the invasion in the country's southern region.

    The outbreak is adding to problems the nation is facing amid its battle against the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the economic turmoil following ending U.S. sanctions.

    An official of the Iranian Agriculture Ministry said the military has offered to assist in combating locusts for the second year in a row.

    "Compared with last year, the swarms of desert locusts are much larger, and it is safe to claim that the recent attacks are unprecedented," said the secretary of the Chabahar Agricultural Trade Union.

    "The military has promised to help fight the desert locusts, including by providing all-terrain vehicles for use in areas which are hard to access," said Mohammad Reza Mir, a spokesman for the ministry's Plant Protection Organization.

    "Last year the military provided personnel and vehicles, and that was a big help."

    The provinces of Sistan-Baluchistan, Bushehr, Fars, Hormozgan, Kerman, and Khuzestan have been under the attacks. As of May 28, reports said around 260 000 ha (640 000 acres) have been treated so far.

    FAO has delivered 25 vehicle-mounted Ultra Low Volume (ULV) sprayers worth about 125 000 dollars. An updated appeal by the organization also requests 17.5 million dollars to control 800 000 ha (2 million acres) of lands, so far funded with 1 million dollars.

    Based on the agricultural calendar, there is a chance to scale up operations by the end of July to lessen harvest damage. This is also key to reduce locusts' migration to Pakistan and India.

    Although FAO's appeal extends until the end of this year, prompt support is needed for both the immediate scale-up until the end of July and to preposition equipment for when locusts occur again in November.

  • Locust Outbreak Escalates Across East Africa and the Middle East

    Desert locust plague situation remains extremely alarming as new swarms continue forming and invading parts of Africa and the Middle East. The United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that the outbreak poses an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods at the start of the upcoming crop season.

    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, FAO said in Desert Locust situation update published March 17, 2020.

    The desert locusts that have been wreaking havoc in massive swaths of East Africa, Pakistan, and Iran are expected to further spread and worsen as new swarms started to form in the Horn of Africa.

    According to FAO's report, the countries predicted to be affected the worst are Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Sudan. Other countries such as Eritrea, Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Oman also have cases.

    In Kenya, hopper bands continue to develop and form an increasing number of first-generation immature swarms in northern and central counties. Further concentration are expected in Marsabit and Turkana. Aerial and ground control operations continue.

    While there are no new information coming from Ethiopia, hopper bands continue to form within a widespread area of Oromiya and SNNPR regions, including the Rift Valley. A new generation of immature swarms are likely to have started forming in some areas. Aerial and ground control operations continue.

    Hopper bands forming on the southern coast near Aden, Yemen where control was carried out. The situation is not well known in other areas where breeding is likely underway.

    Swarms and adult groups continue laying eggs in the southwest Iran (southern Khuzestan, Bushehr, 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.

    The situation is under control in the following countries: Sudan, Eritrea, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Oman.

    In Sudan, two immature swarms appeared on the southern coast of the Red Sea on March 14. Scattered adults along parts of the coast. 

    Conditions are drying out on the central and northern coast of Eritrea. Control operations continue against groups of late instar hoppers and immature adults on the Buri Peninsula and in the Dahlak Islands.

    In Egypt, late instar hopper groups are treated at one place on the Red Sea coast in the southeast.

    Control operations against one mature swarm and groups of laying adult near the Persian Gulf between Al Hofuf and Kuwait in Saudi Arabia, and a few mature groups in the northern interior south of Al Jawf.

    Hatching on the north coast and control operations against early instar hopper groups are in progress in Oman, and continue against late instar hopper groups on the east coast.

    The present widespread breeding in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia continues to pose unprecedented threats to food security and livelihoods, said FAO on the Locust Watch website.

    FAO has warned about these threats last month while appealing for prompt support, calling on international groups and organizations to help in combatting the swarms.

     

  • Locust Outbreak Returns; Second Wave 20 Times Larger

    Shortly before Coronavirus began sweeping the globe, the largest locust plaguein 70 years was sweeping through various countries in Africa.

    According to the Associated Press, they're back -with a second wave of the destructive, crop-eating insects up to 20x as large as the firstwhich are swarming by the billions.

    The young desert locusts have left their breeding grounds in Somalia, where they will search and destroy fresh vegetation resulting from seasonal rains. This in turn has caused locals to band together to try and combat them, only to risk spreading coronavirus, according to the report.

    It is the locusts that “everyone is talking about,” said Yoweri Aboket, a farmer in Uganda. “Once they land in your garden they do total destruction. Some people will even tell you that the locusts are more destructive than the coronavirus. There are even some who don’t believe that the virus will reach here.”

    Some farmers in Abokat’s village near the Kenyan border bang metal pans, whistle or throw stones to try to drive the locusts away. But mostly they watch in frustration, largely barred by a coronavirus lockdown from gathering outside their homes.

    A failed garden of cassava, a local staple, means hunger. Such worries in the village of some 600 people are reflected across a large part of East Africa, including Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan. The locust swarms also have been sighted in Djibouti, Eritrea, Tanzania and Congo. -AP

    According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the locust outbreak represents "an unprecedented threat" to the food supply and livelihoods, while officials claim that the new wave is approximately twenty times larger than the one from just months ago. 

    "The current situation in East Africa remains extremely alarming as... an increasing number of new swarms are forming in Kenya, southern Ethiopia and Somalia," reads an assessment by the FAO.

    Meanwhile, a third round of locusts is expected in late June and July - coinciding with the beginning of harvest season, according to the organization - which has asked for $153 million in aid, up from $76 million. So far the FAO has gathered $11 million in cash or pledges despite what they say is a need for urgent action before more rainfall causes locust numbers to explode once again.

    The locusts are “invading the Eastern Africa region in exceptionally large swarms like never seen before,” the Nairobi-based Climate Prediction and Application Center said.

    The new swarms include “young adults,” voracious bugs “that eat more than the adult ones,” said Kenneth Mwangi, a satellite information analyst at the center.

    Mwangi and other officials in Kenya cited difficulties in fighting the infestation as coronavirus-related travel restrictions slow cross-border travel and delay the delivery of pesticides. -AP

    "I think, unfortunately, because of other things going on around the world, people are forgetting about the problem with the locusts. But it’s a very, very real problem," farmer George Dodds told the FAO.

    AP reports that aerial spraying is the only effective way to control the outbreak, however Uganda's agriculture minister says they are unable to import enough pesticides from Japan due to disruptions in international cargo shipments. Meanw

    hile, the Ugandan government has failed to allocate over $4 million requested for locust control.

    Meanwhile in Ethiopia - home to some 6 million people living in areas directly affected by the locust outbreaks, the infestation "will cause large-scale crop, pasture and forest-cover loss, worsening food and feed insecurity," if not addressed quickly, according to the FAO.

  • Locust Plague Spreads East Across Iran and Pakistan

    The insects are breeding so quickly that they could grow four hundred fold by June.

    In January, the UN appealed for $76m (£59m) to tackle the crisis. That figure has now risen to $138m. But so far, only $52m has been received.

    The main threats are in East Africa and Yemen, as well the Gulf states, Iran, Pakistan and India.

    Map showing the current situation of the record-breaking locust plague in 2020. Locust map by FAO

    Most recently, locusts have been seen in the Democratic Republic of Congo and swarms have arrived in Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar and along the coast of Iran.

    But locals and officials say there are 3 times more than at the beginning of the year:

     

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The video below Shows Massive swarms of locusts heading into Southern China

 

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Millions of acres of crops have already been destroyed and all attempts to contain or eradicate these pests have failed so far in India, Pakistan and Africa.

Aerial and ground spraying combined with constant tracking of the swarms are viewed as the most effective strategies. But aircrafts are in short supply.

Locust plague risk map 2020. Locust map by FAO

Currently, Ethiopia was using five and Kenya six for spraying and four for surveying. But the Kenyan government says it needs 20 planes for spraying – and a continuous supply of the pesticide Fenitrothion.

See the plague invading an airport on the Abadan Island in southwest Iran:

 

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The Chinese government announced in February it was sending a team of experts to neighbouring Pakistan to develop “targeted programmes” against the locusts.

locust plague 2020 forecast map. Locust map by FAO

According to reports, China is ready to send 100,000 ducks to its border to devour the insects, telling the birds were “biological weapons,” capable of eating more than 200 locusts a day (chickens can ‘only’ eat about 70 locusts in one day. What about the locusts themselves then?

 

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Desert Locust situation as of 10 March 2020

New swarms forming in 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

Widespread swarm breeding continues in northern and central counties where an increasing number of hopper bands and first-generation immature swarms are forming.

This may be supplemented by new-generation immature swarms arriving from Somalia.

Further concentration is expected in Marsabit and Turkana. Aerial and ground control operations continue.

ETHIOPIA

Breeding continues within a widespread area of Oromiya and SNNPR regions, including the Rift Valley, where early instar hopper bands are forming in some places.

Immature swarms are present in the south where cross-border movements are likely from adjacent areas of Somalia and Kenya.

Aerial and ground control operations continue.

SOMALIA

Late instar hopper bands, maturing adult groups and at least one mature swarm on the northwest coast where egg-laying continues.

Ground control operations underway with biopesticides.

SUDAN

Late instar hopper band, fledglings and immature adult group and swarm on the southern coast of the Red Sea near the Eritrea border.

Scattered adults in Tokar Delta, the northeast and in the Nile Valley.

ERITREA

Immature adult groups on the northern coast of the Red Sea near the Sudan border.

Hopper groups on the Buri Peninsula.

Middle East locust brewing

SAUDI ARABIA

Mature swarm and laying adult groups near the Persian Gulf between Dammam and Qaryat Al Ulya.

Scattered adults on the central Red Sea coast.

KUWAIT

Immature swarms in the north and near Kuwait City.

UAE

Immature swarm on the western coast near Qatar.

South Asia populations face second run

IRAN

Swarms laying eggs in the southwest (southern Khuzestan, Busherh, southern Fars, western Hormozgan provinces) that will start to hatch later this week and form hopper bands.

Local breeding continues in the southeast where hoppers are forming groups and bands in eastern Hormozgan.

Control operations are in progress.

PAKISTAN

Mature adult groups laying eggs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Dera Ismail Khan, Lucky Marwat) and Baluchistan (Dalbandin, Kharan, Khuzdar, Washtuk, Turbat) that will hatch during the second half of March and form hopper groups and small bands.

New generation immature groups and small swarms are likely to start forming in Baluchistan by the end of March.

  • U.N.warns locust plague spreading to much of Africa and S.W. Asia

    The unprecedented threat of desert locust to food security and livelihoods continues in the Horn of Africa and it is also very likely to spread to southwest Asia and perhaps West Africa, according to a situation update by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on June 4, 2020

    Early migration of spring-bred swarms from southwest Pakistan to Rajasthan, India, took place in May before the monsoon and some swarms continued to northern states for the first time since 1962.

    Second-generation breeding is underway in northwest Kenya and numerous hopper bands have formed that will give rise to immature swarms from the second week of June until mid-July. The same situation is underway in Somalia and Ethiopia, FAO added.

    Much of the new swarms are expected to migrate northwards from Kenya to Ethiopia and traverse South Sudan to Sudan after mid-June, while other swarms will travel to northern Ethiopia.

    Swarms that reach northeast Somalia are possible to migrate across the northern Indian Ocean to the Indo-Pakistan border area.

    In Yemen, breeding is also underway along the southern coast and in the interior where swarms are likely to emerge, some of which could move to northern Somalia and northeast Ethiopia.

    Meanwhile, control operations are ongoing in spring breeding areas of Iran, Pakistan, and India. 

    Pakistani and Indian authorities are working together to contain the locust invasion, considered worst in decades. In a briefing on Thursday, June 4, a spokesman from Pakistan's foreign office said a decision to work together was made at a meeting in March, involving Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, and Iran.

    Each nation agreed to establish a technical and operational coordination team to share information, improve coordination at the border areas, and increase synchronization to fight the outbreak in the region.

    "On its part, the government of Pakistan remains committed to cooperating with all Commission for Controlling the Desert Locust in South-West Asia (SWAC) member states, including India, in combating the desert locust outbreak," said the spokesman.

    "The swarms will oscillate east and westwards before returning to lay eggs with the onset of the monsoon in Rajasthan where successive waves of swarms will arrive from southern Iran in June and the Horn of Africa in July," FAO wrote.

    In Sudan, seasonal rains started recently in the extreme south of the summer breeding area, north of South Sudan. If rains continue in the following weeks, conditions are likely to be favorable for any swarms coming from Ethiopia and Kenya. These swarms are more likely to settle and lay eggs.

    On the other hand, if rains are limited and conditions are dry in June, swarms would continue to eastern Chad by the end of June and move further west in the Sahel of West Africa ahead of the summer rains, reaching eastern Niger early July, eastern Mali mid-month, and southeast Mauritania later.

  • U.N.warns locut plague spreading to much of Africa and S.W. Asia

    The unprecedented threat of desert locust to food security and livelihoods continues in the Horn of Africa and it is also very likely to spread to southwest Asia and perhaps West Africa, according to a situation update by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on June 4, 2020

    Early migration of spring-bred swarms from southwest Pakistan to Rajasthan, India, took place in May before the monsoon and some swarms continued to northern states for the first time since 1962.

    Second-generation breeding is underway in northwest Kenya and numerous hopper bands have formed that will give rise to immature swarms from the second week of June until mid-July. The same situation is underway in Somalia and Ethiopia, FAO added.

    Much of the new swarms are expected to migrate northwards from Kenya to Ethiopia and traverse South Sudan to Sudan after mid-June, while other swarms will travel to northern Ethiopia.

    Swarms that reach northeast Somalia are possible to migrate across the northern Indian Ocean to the Indo-Pakistan border area.

    In Yemen, breeding is also underway along the southern coast and in the interior where swarms are likely to emerge, some of which could move to northern Somalia and northeast Ethiopia.

    Meanwhile, control operations are ongoing in spring breeding areas of Iran, Pakistan, and India. 

    Pakistani and Indian authorities are working together to contain the locust invasion, considered worst in decades. In a briefing on Thursday, June 4, a spokesman from Pakistan's foreign office said a decision to work together was made at a meeting in March, involving Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, and Iran.

    Each nation agreed to establish a technical and operational coordination team to share information, improve coordination at the border areas, and increase synchronization to fight the outbreak in the region.

    "On its part, the government of Pakistan remains committed to cooperating with all Commission for Controlling the Desert Locust in South-West Asia (SWAC) member states, including India, in combating the desert locust outbreak," said the spokesman.

    "The swarms will oscillate east and westwards before returning to lay eggs with the onset of the monsoon in Rajasthan where successive waves of swarms will arrive from southern Iran in June and the Horn of Africa in July," FAO wrote.

    In Sudan, seasonal rains started recently in the extreme south of the summer breeding area, north of South Sudan. If rains continue in the following weeks, conditions are likely to be favorable for any swarms coming from Ethiopia and Kenya. These swarms are more likely to settle and lay eggs.

    On the other hand, if rains are limited and conditions are dry in June, swarms would continue to eastern Chad by the end of June and move further west in the Sahel of West Africa ahead of the summer rains, reaching eastern Niger early July, eastern Mali mid-month, and southeast Mauritania later.

  • Unprecedented Second Generation Locust Invasion Threatens Africa and the Middle East, Millions Face Starvation

    Another unprecedented wave of locust plague is expected to hit Pakistan by the end of May 2020, posing threats of food security crisis and livelihood losses. The invasion will start from the southwestern province of Balochistan, passing through the cropping area of southern Sindh province during the migration, according to the Ministry of National Food Security and research.

    Desert locusts are expected to migrate from Iran and other areas to the summer breeding regions in Sindh, as well as eastern Punjab provinces, the ministry added, noting that it will be difficult to contain the movement of the insects but measures will be taken.

    "Slowly and gradually, these locusts are eating away at everything in cultivated lands. Now, they are moving towards other fields in nearby villages," said a farmer named Maulvi Satar Baloch. Other residents of Garang in Washuk district, said desert locusts are growing day by day in the area.

    The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned of a potentially serious food security crisis and major livelihood losses unless prompt action is taken to contain the insects breeding in parts of Balochistan, Sindh, and Punjab.

    In response to the threat, the Pakistani government announced a national emergency in February and a national action plan, in collaboration with the affected provinces. 

    The ministry said in a statement that agencies like the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and provincial agricultural departments are working together for the purpose of survey and control. Military units are also sent for support.

    Survey reports are done regularly with FAO for acquiring technical support. "In southwest Asia, hopper groups and bands are present in southern Iran and in Pakistan where substantive control operations continue," FAO stated. 

    "Adult groups and small swarms from breeding in Balochistan, the Indus Valley, and Punjab in Pakistan will move to desert areas along both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border from now onwards."

    "This is expected to be supplemented by several waves of swarms coming from the spring breeding areas during June."

    Strong measures have been taken to assess the land areas in all the provinces, with a total of 153 665 square km (59 553 square miles) surveyed so far.

    Second generation swarm

    This second generation swarm is even bigger and more threatening.

    This is known as the second generation of the pests, meaning the first swarm reproduced. This second generation is younger and more aggressive than the first.

    According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), left unchecked, locusts swarms multiply by a factor of 20 per generation.

    Practically, that means there are probably trillions of locusts in the current swarm. They also estimate that this swarm is 400 times stronger than the first.

    Governments and the U.N. have warned that the locust will cause major food shortage in the region. In its latest locust watch update, the U.N. said the situation was “extremely alarming” as an increasing number of new swarms form in north and central Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia.

    There are currently 18 swarms in Kenya. Regional governments have asked for financial aid to fight the swarms, but it is low priority due to the current health crisis and lockdown.

    The swarms are near impossible to manage, especially without proper gear. As Ambroke Ngetich, FAO Project Officer in Kenya, told the BBC: “Every time you are trying to control in one region, there is another swarm that is happening in a different region and it is not possible to control them simultaneously.

    Thousands of gallons of pesticides missing

    Tens of thousands of liters of pesticides haven’t been able to reach the region, as the pandemic closed international borders and disrupted the supply chain. Masses of adequate protective gear, to be used while spraying the pesticides, have also not made it to the region.

    Even if the materials were able to be delivered, however, it could be too late. Current solutions have not and will not work, the FAO warns local countries, as the sizes of the swarms are too big for aerial spraying. Further, current spraying practices don’t kill everything, leaving bugs in the ground.

    An absolutely unmitigated disaster

    The locusts present “an extremely alarming and unprecedented threat” to food security and livelihoods, according to the U.N.

    David Hughes from the U.N.’s FAO, told the BBC that the swarms “threaten the food of 23 million people. It is the number one food security issue in East Africa at the moment.

    And, he explains, “when you add on top of it, cyclones or whatever else we’ll have in the next 2-3 months… it’s an absolutely unmitigated disaster.

    The FAO warns that it will be too late to stop the locusts from spreading in less than six months, which would threaten millions with starvation.

    Thus far, the winds have kept the swarm in northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia, which contains lots of open land unused by farmers. But with tens of millions in the region already dependent on food aid, this could turn into a humanitarian crisis quickly.

    The current situation in East Africa remains extremely alarming as more swarms form and mature in northern and central Kenya and southern Ethiopia. This represents an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods because it coincides with the early beginning of the long rains and the current growing season,warns desert locust situation update report by FAO.

    Entire East Africa region under threat

    The swarm threatens the entire East Africa region, not just Kenya.

    In February, eight east African countries experienced the worst outbreak in 70 years.

    Yemen and east Africa are roughly 152 miles apart, separated just by the Gulf of Aden. Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda were worst hit by the swarms.

    All of this happens as the Lake Victoria Basin countries of Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania have experienced abnormally heavy rainfall since October 2019, which has effectively caused flooding, which also threatens food supply.

    The East African Community (EAC) secretariat will set aside emergency funds to turn tides against floods and locusts, a new report by ReliefWeb indicates.

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