Locusts Strike Israel and Egypt Prior to Passover

A locust swarm that is of biblical proportions in Egypt could create huge crop damage in the country, said experts. The swarm has the Internet abuzz because of the correlation to the plague of locusts found in the Bible.

Three weeks prior to Passover, a swarm of locusts is hitting both Israel and Egypt and sparking fears amongst the many farmers in the area. The timing of the swarms has caused even greater panic amongst the general population, but farmers are extra worried as the swarms can potentially wipe out complete agricultural crops. There has not been a similar problem in over eight years said a locust forecasting representative at the United Nations Rome headquarters for Food and Agriculture.

The U.N. officer said the locusts came from the border of Sudan and Egypt following a period of breeding from December and January; then flew north to Suez along the coast; and were caught in winds that took them to Cairo. The winds that took them to Cairo moved them eastward and as of Monday, changing winds carried the swarm toward the Sinai Peninsula and the Negev Desert in Israel.

An Israeli spokesperson from the Agriculture Ministry said that planes had been disbursed to spray agricultural fields with pesticides to head off any damage by the swarm of over 2,000 locusts. Israeli authorities are urging residents to report any sightings of locusts in the area.

In Egypt, authorities said the locusts had attacked agricultural fields in the area of Suez, while other reports have said the swarms were being eradicated and no substantial damage had been done to the crops.

Locusts found in the Middle East depend upon desert rains and therefore their cycles are hard to predict.

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