A plague of locusts will be coming to pox Africa and in the Middle East. This would be a repetition of what happened 30-years ago. It can be likened to the coronavirus pandemic as it will acquire biblical proportions.
There will be interference caused by travel limitations and in-country gatherings for training to deal with the locust threat, according to Rome-based Senior Locust Forecasting Officer Keith Cressman last Monday.
Cressman is part of the Locust Watch, which is a division of the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization. Its job is to assist in times of emergency as countries facing locust hordes and desert borne invasion that threaten them.
Alarm bells are clanging and the coming locust forecast does not bode well. There is a chance of large swarms that will strike in the Horn of Africa.
Cressman has been with the organization for 30-years, who related to the "Times of Israel" last Monday, that it was during the plague of 1987-1989 when the same place was in dire peril.
By definition, the Desert Locust is considered as the most destructive pest that is also migratory, which makes large areas vulnerable to them, anywhere in the world, as in the Locust Watch Website.
These insects were first described in the Book of Exodus when these destructive insects swarmed large areas. According to biblical sources, they consumed any crop, forage and ate more than their size, as they went about.
It is not just one locust but as millions which will swarm the desert. These huge swarms are insatiable which has a consumption similar to that of 35,000 people in one day. So, these swarms are destructive and mobile that just increases the threat.
Breeding grounds in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia will produce a horde or plague of locusts that will endanger food security and livelihoods in the coming crop season.
Locust Watch monitor field data, information and reports in real time to assess its effects to certain countries. All the information is a combo of analysis of sensing (satellite) imagery, weather data and forecasts, plus historic date stored in our geographic information system that includes a data base of the 1930s.
All these speculation is based on institutional memory and the experience of Cressman. This event may indicate a trying year ahead in the current outlook.
He added that in early 2020, the Desert Locust sitrep is already bad, with a climate that will encourage the locust hordes to breed in East Africa, Southwest Asia, and near the Red Sea, according to website sources.
Furthermore, he added to the Times of Israel, "It is always very difficult to find and treat all infestations, and this is the nature and challenge of managing Desert Locust." Limitations due to the coronavirus contagion might prevent timely intervention and treatment.
Cressman added that the plague of locusts will not affect all places in the Middle East, he said that the locust swarms will not hit Israel or their crops.
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