Plague Of Locusts Hits Egypt, Devastates Agriculture

Melissa Stusinski - Author
By

Aug. 18 2013, Updated 2:03 a.m. ET

A plague of locusts hit Egypt this weekend, causing some citizens to burn tires in an attempt to ward them off.

The swarms of locusts were spotted in several districts of Cairo on Saturday as they invaded the Giza area of the Middle Eastern nation.

Officials estimate that at least 30 million insects swarmed through the fields and farms on the outskirts of Cairo. Israel National News reports that the mass of flying insects is causing a lot of damage to the area’s agriculture.

Egypt’s Agriculture Minister Dr. Salah Abd al Mamon cautioned residents not to try and drive the locusts away. He added:

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“Egyptian armed forces and border guards are attempting to fight the swarm with all means at their disposal.”

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Mamon also requested that families not burn tires in an attempt to make the swarms of locusts avoid their property. He explained:

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“This does not chase away the locusts, but only causes damage and could ignite large-scale fires that would cost in lives.”

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Ahram Online notes that the swarms of locusts that hit Egypt likely originated from Sudan. Large swarms of the cricket-like insects have been seen along the Red Sea coast in south-eastern Egypt, north-eastern Sudan, Eritrea, and Saudi Arabia.

There is some concern that the locust swarms in Egypt will make their way toward Israel. One of the worst infestations in recent history Egypt happened in 2004. The Land Center for Human Rights reported that 38 percent of the nation’s crops were damaged from the plague.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) stated that one ton of locusts eat the same amount of food in one day as 2,500 people. In order to combat the plague of locusts, the Agriculture Ministry is planning on using crop duster planes. Weather forecasters have also predicted strong winds that will hopefully take the locusts toward the Red Sea or Saudi Arabia.

Ironically, the plague of locusts in Egypt arrived less than one month before the Jewish Passover will begin.

[Image via ShutterStock]

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