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Plague

  • Apocalyptic locust Swarm Attacks Saudi Arabia and Horn of Africa

    Massive locust swarms have invaded Saudi Arabia while a bigger and deadlier attack is ongoing in the Horn of Africa, which is set to descend on large parts of Ethiopia and Kenya, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned Sunday, January 24, 2021.

    In Saudi Arabia, locust swarms hit areas along the coast from Jizan to Lith, extending nearly to Duba on the north coast. Control operations are in progress, particularly against second instar hopper groups and a few bands.

    Footages on social media show the insects blanketing the skies, highways, and wide fields.

    Meanwhile, FAO warned Sunday that dry weather conditions across the Horn of Africa region are expected to facilitate locust swarms, making the invasion in Kenya bigger and deadlier. About 15 out of 47 counties in Kenya have been affected so far.

    "As conditions remain dry in some areas, the swarms are expected to disperse throughout southern and northern Ethiopia as well as north-central Kenya," FAO wrote in its latest report. 

    "Any rainfall that occurs in the coming weeks will cause swarms to mature and lay eggs that will hatch and give rise to hopper bands during February and March."

    Agriculture Minister Peter Munya said in a news conference that while Kenya is well-prepared to battle the second invasion, the threat is far from over.

    "The [East African] country is under the second invasion by desert locusts which entered from Ethiopia and Somalia. To date, 15 counties have reported desert locust invasion."

    Kenya has deployed 9 surveillance and sprayer aircraft and 21 vehicles mounted with sprayers for ground control operations. Three more aircraft are on standby.

    Many farmers expressed disappointment, on the other hand, after locusts destroyed their crops and many plantations.

    "These immature locusts eat as much food as their body size and are the most dangerous. They have destroyed many maize plantations. Grass for dairy cows has been decimated and trees have been broken," local farmer Kawira Mberia told Anadolu Agency.

    "The farmers have suffered huge losses and the government should move in to cushion us."

    FAO said intense ground and aerial control operations are ongoing in Kenya, as well as in Ethiopia, to lessen current swarm populations.

  • Biblical locust Swarm Attacks Saudi Arabia and Horn of Africa

    Massive locust swarms have invaded Saudi Arabia while a bigger and deadlier attack is ongoing in the Horn of Africa, which is set to descend on large parts of Ethiopia and Kenya, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned Sunday, January 24, 2021.

    In Saudi Arabia, locust swarms hit areas along the coast from Jizan to Lith, extending nearly to Duba on the north coast. Control operations are in progress, particularly against second instar hopper groups and a few bands.

    Footages on social media show the insects blanketing the skies, highways, and wide fields.

    Meanwhile, FAO warned Sunday that dry weather conditions across the Horn of Africa region are expected to facilitate locust swarms, making the invasion in Kenya bigger and deadlier. About 15 out of 47 counties in Kenya have been affected so far.

    "As conditions remain dry in some areas, the swarms are expected to disperse throughout southern and northern Ethiopia as well as north-central Kenya," FAO wrote in its latest report. 

    "Any rainfall that occurs in the coming weeks will cause swarms to mature and lay eggs that will hatch and give rise to hopper bands during February and March."

    Agriculture Minister Peter Munya said in a news conference that while Kenya is well-prepared to battle the second invasion, the threat is far from over.

    "The [East African] country is under the second invasion by desert locusts which entered from Ethiopia and Somalia. To date, 15 counties have reported desert locust invasion."

    Kenya has deployed 9 surveillance and sprayer aircraft and 21 vehicles mounted with sprayers for ground control operations. Three more aircraft are on standby.

    Many farmers expressed disappointment, on the other hand, after locusts destroyed their crops and many plantations.

    "These immature locusts eat as much food as their body size and are the most dangerous. They have destroyed many maize plantations. Grass for dairy cows has been decimated and trees have been broken," local farmer Kawira Mberia told Anadolu Agency.

    "The farmers have suffered huge losses and the government should move in to cushion us."

    FAO said intense ground and aerial control operations are ongoing in Kenya, as well as in Ethiopia, to lessen current swarm populations.

  • Locust Plague Hits Horn of Africa and Yemen

    New biblical swarms of desert locusts are forming in the Horn of Africa, threatening agricultural livelihoods and the food security of millions of people.

    FAO recently said in an alarming news release: “New locust swarms are already forming and threatening to re-invade northern Kenya and breeding is also underway on both sides of the Red Sea, posing a new threat to Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, and Yemen.

    This year had already seen the worst East Africa invasion in 60+ years.

    It could be as bad as what we’ve seen in the past year because the area of breeding ground in these countries is as big as 350,000 sq km (135,000 sq miles).

    Although better prepared, there are fears that communities might be overwhelmed if the swarms are really big.

    So, why are there so many locusts?

    Locust infestations increased over the past month in Ethiopia and Somalia as a result of extensive breeding, favourable weather and rainfall, with populations predicted to increase further in the coming months.

    Cyclone Gati brought two years of rainfall within two days and what could have been a hostile terrain for the locusts turned into a favourable breeding ground.

    Increased surveillance in several affected regional areas have helped keep locusts away. But in regions (southern Somalia) or countries (Yemen) in conflict, there is no time to take rid of locusts.

    The FAO has warned that more than 35 million people are already acutely food insecure in the five most-impacted countries.

    It says that number could increase by another 3.5 million if nothing is done to control the latest outbreak.

  • Millions of Spiders Invade Australia

    Terrifying footages of spiders swarming fence posts, streetlights and the sides of homes as they flee floods in Australia have emerged online.

    The creepy crawlies were captured scurrying to high ground as floodwaters swept the country’s east coast over the weekend.

    Arachnids are even clambering up people’s legs in a bid to escape record-breaking downpours.

    Shenae and Steve Varley said that spiders covered the “entire length of the railing” at Penrith weir in western Sydney on Sunday.

    “There were also skinks, ants, basically every insect, crickets – all just trying to get away from the flood waters,” Shenae said.

    “My husband videoed it, because I was not going close to it.

    “When he was standing still he had spiders climbing up his legs. A skink used him as a pole to get away from the water.”

    The state of New South Wales has been battered by the worst flooding in 60 years, with torrential rains expected to continue for another day or two.

    Three days of torrential rain have left highways submerged, with cars up to their windshields in water.

    Australia has evacuated thousands from suburbs in Sydney’s west – and it appears the city’s eight-legged critters are running for cover, too.

    One local said he saw “millions of spiders” after parking his car near his home in the mid-north coast of New South Wales on Monday morning.

    The bugs were racing away from flood water rising up from nearby Kinchela Creek.

    “It’s amazing. It’s crazy,” he the Guardian.

    “The spiders all crawled up on to the house, on to fences and whatever they can get on to.”

    Social media clips of land around the creak shows what appears to be brows floodwater before it becomes clear the area is covered by a warming mass of spiders.

    uthorities said about 18,000 people have been evacuated from low-lying areas already.

    “This is an ongoing situation that is evolving and is extremely dangerous,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told parliament.

    Large parts of the east coast will get more heavy rain this week, brought by a combination of a tropical low over the northern part of Western Australia and a coastal trough off New South Wales, said Jane Golding, a weather official.

    “We expect this heavy rain to fall on areas that haven’t seen as much rain over the last few days,” Golding told reporters.

    “We expect the flood risk to develop in those areas as well.”

    Some parts of Sydney’s western regions have suffered the worst flooding since 1961, said authorities, who expect the wild weather to last until Wednesday.

    A severe flood warning has been issued for large parts of New South Wales, as well as neighbouring Queensland.

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