Tag Archives: plague

Biblical Size Plague of Locust Devour Egypt – This year Passover begins on March 25.

A swarm of locusts has crossed the border from Egypt into neighbouring Israel, raising fears that the country could be plagued by the insects over the forthcoming Passover holiday.

A swarm of an estimated 30 million insects had been devastating crops in Egypt putting authorities in Israel on high alert.

But a smaller swarm of some one million locusts has now hit Israel.

The country’s Agriculture Ministry sent out planes to spray pesticides over agricultural fields on Monday to prevent damage by the locusts and set up an emergency hotline and asked Israelis to report sightings.

The insects covered nearly 2,000 acres of desert overnight, officials said.

Israel sprayed pesticides from the air and land to try to kill them in the early morning before dew on their wings dried and they could take off again.

Miriam Freund, director of plant protection in the Agriculture Ministry, called it a ‘medium-sized swarm’ and her office set up a hotline for farmers to call in case they see it advance.

‘We hope our actions are effective,’ one of the pilots of a plane spraying the fields said on Army Radio. ‘Let’s hope the damage will be minimal.’

Reports suggest that the insects are mainly concentrated in areas of southern Israel, but sightings have been reported elsewhere.

The locust alert comes ahead of the week long Passover festival, which recounts the biblical story of the Israelite exodus from Egypt.

According to the Bible, a huge swarm of locusts was the eighth of 10 plagues God imposed on Egyptians to persuade Pharaoh to free the ancient Hebrews from slavery. Pharaoh did not agree to let them go until after the 10th plague, the death of the first born in every Egyptian family.

This year Passover begins on March 25.

Egyptian Agriculture ministers had said that the locusts pass through their country as part of their normal migration from north east Sudan to Saudi Arabia, emphasising that Egypt was just ‘a transfer station’ for the locusts, which were in larger numbers this year.

As the insects descended on agricultural farms in Giza and in Cairo, causing significant damage, it sparked fears that they could spread to Israel.

Those fears have now escalated with the first insects spotted in the country yesterday.
A road in the Negev desert is swamped by locusts as a driver passes through the swarm

On the road: A road in the Negev desert is swamped by locusts as a driver passes through the swarm

The bugs have fueled apocalyptic fears because of the infestation’s proximity to the Bible story of Passover in which a swarm of locusts, the eighth of ten plagues, is imposed on Egyptians by God for enslaving and abusing ancient Hebrews

Passover plague: The bugs have fueled apocalyptic fears because of the infestation’s proximity to the Bible story of Passover in which a swarm of locusts, the eighth of ten plagues, is imposed on Egyptians by God for enslaving and abusing ancient Hebrews

In a statement from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, the infestation was described as a ‘immature swarm’ which ‘appeared in the afternoon (on March 2) in the eastern Cairo districts of New Cairo and Mokattam and dispersed into several smaller swarmlets’.

The statement read: ‘The locusts originated from breeding that has been in progress since November in southeast Egypt between Berenice and the Sudanese border.
As the locusts have descended on agricultural farms in Giza and in Cairo, they have caused significant damage to agriculture

Killing crops: As the locusts have descended on agricultural farms in Giza and in Cairo, they have caused significant damage to agriculture

‘As vegetation dried out, small groups and swarms of immature adults moved slowly north along the Red Sea coast, reaching Marsa Alam on 8 February, Hurghada on the 16th and Zafarana on the 26th.’

As well as Israel, Lebanon and Jordan have been alerted.

In Cairo, people had been burning tyres to create black smoke to deter the locust from settling and there were reports that swarms had been seen in Zafarana, about 124 miles from Cairo, on the Red Sea and in the city of Qena, where the insects have been sighted in at least three villages.

According to the Israel National News, the Egyptian Agriculture Minister Dr Salah Abd Al Mamon said: ‘Egyptian armed forces and border guards are attempting to fight the swarm with all means at their disposal.

‘I ask the families living in the locust-plagues areas not to burn tyres. This does not chase away the locusts, but only causes damage and could ignite large scale fires that would cost in lives.’

He said that strong winds were predicted in weather forecasts and he hoped that this would force the insects to migrate toward the Red Sea and Saudi Arabia. Crop duster planes were also going to be used to handle the infestation.

Egypt and Israel was infested with locusts in 2004. Israeli agriculture officials sent crop dusters into the air to spray against the locusts that swept in from North Africa in the first such invasion since 1959.
The Egyptian Agriculture Ministry said that the locusts pass through the country as part of their normal migration from north east Sudan to Saudi Arabia, reaffirming that Egypt is just ‘a transfer station’ for the locusts

The Egyptian Agriculture Ministry said that the locusts pass through the country as part of their normal migration from north east Sudan to Saudi Arabia, reaffirming that Egypt is just ‘a transfer station’ for the locusts

Farmers in 15 out of the 27 Egyptian governorates suffered significant agricultural damage as the insects devoured crops and flowers.

The infestation comes as a study warns that yellow-legged Asian hornets that prey on bees are among the latest non-native species threatening UK wildlife, and even people’s health.

A growing number of alien species, from killer shrimps to Spanish slugs, are set to soon reach our shores, a Europe-wide study warns.

The Asian hornet, which grows to between 2.5cm and 3cm (1-1.2 inches), preys on native honeybees, wasps and other pollinators, potentially devastating hives and threatening honey and crop production.
Residents in Cairo burn tyres to create black smoke to deter the locust settling there as Israel’s Agriculture Ministry set up an emergency hotline and urged residents to be vigilant in reporting sightings of the insects

Battle with the bugs: Residents in Cairo burn tyres to create black smoke to deter the locust settling there as Israel’s Agriculture Ministry set up an emergency hotline and urged residents to be vigilant in reporting sightings of the insects

Swarms descending: A swarm of an estimated 30million locust has descended on Egypt (including these insects seen over the Al-Mogattam district of Cairo) as Israel braces for the infestation to head their way

The locust swarm has crossed into Israel just weeks before the Passover festival, which commemorates the biblical story of the Israelite exodus from Egypt.

According to the Biblical book of Exodus, a swarm of locusts was inflicted on Egypt as one of ten deadly plagues sent by God to persuade the Pharaoh to release the Hebrews from slavery.

The plagues included a plague of frogs, darkness and boils.

The swarm of locusts was the eighth plague and began on the first day of the Hebrew month of Shevat.

As with previous plagues, the Pharaoh was warned of the impending punishment by Moses.

After having suffered enough, Pharaoh’s officials begged him to let the Israelites go, but he would still not give in.

He proposed a compromise to release the men but keep women, children and livestock.

Despite Moses reiterating the warning that every last person had to be released, the Pharaoh refused to give in.

The swarm of locusts cast a shadow over Egypt according to the Bible and consumed all the nation’s crops.

Pharaoh relented and God sent a wind that blew the locusts into the Red Sea.

But the Pharaoh changed his mind and two more plagues were sent.

The final plague, the death of the firstborn saw God tell Moses to inform all Israelites to put lamb’s blood on their doors to spare their firstborn children from death.

The Pharaoh was finally convinced to let the Israelites go and Moses led them from Egypt.

Read more: SOURCE

Locusts….of BIBLICAL Proportion

Locusts menace already hunger-stricken Mali and Niger

Mali is already bedeviled by the messy aftermath of a military coup, Tuareg rebels who’ve declared their own state, Islamists trying to impose strict religious law in the north, and waves of hunger.

Now Mali and neighboring Niger are facing swarms of locusts, which were left uncontrolled while Libya and Algeria, which normally keep local locusts from moving south, grappled with conflicts and insecurity of their own.

The swarming desert locusts, which can eat their own weight in fresh food every day, threaten to devastate crops in a region where millions of people are already menaced by food shortages. In some stretches of northern Mali and Niger, some people have resorted to eating plant leaves, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the World Food Program have said.

Locusts are usually managed by spraying chemicals that stop the swarms from spreading. Algeria and Libya ordinarily attack the swarms, preventing them from hitting Mali or Niger.

But in the last year, as Libya was wracked by fighting between rival militias in the aftermath of the ouster of Moammar Kadafi and Algeria suffered insecurity along its border, local teams and international experts have been blocked from stopping the swarms, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said.

Teams trying to combat the locusts had treated more than 200 square miles of infested land in Algeria and Libya as of the end of May. More than $700,000 has been dedicated to the problem, the FAO said.

But locusts have reportedly already been spotted in the northern Mali region of Kidal, as well as neighboring northern Niger. “How many locusts there are and how far they move will depend on two major factors: the effectiveness of current control efforts in Algeria and Libya and upcoming rainfall in the Sahel of West Africa,” FAO senior locust forecasting officer Keith Cressman said Tuesday.

The onslaught is especially alarming in Mali because the unrest has crippled its ability to fight them off. Bloomberg News reported Thursday that the equipment Mali needs to stop the swarms was destroyed during the Tuareg rebellion, quoting an interview with a locust control official broadcast on state radio.

Even before it was threatened by locusts, Mali has been facing its worst crisis in 50 years, Amnesty International said last month. Rebels and soldiers alike have violated human rights with executions and rapes. Tens of thousands of people have fled the region.

SOURCE

Cancer: 7.5 Million Strong………….and growing.

World cancer toll is on the rise, says research

Sarah Boseley
The Guardian

At least 12.6 million people are diagnosed with cancer around the world every year, and more than 7.5 million die of the disease – a toll that is steadily rising in every country as the population expands and people live longer, according to research by the World Health Organisation.

Cancer was the cause of 14% of all deaths around the world in 2008, the year for which there are the most recent comprehensive figures, but the rates varied enormously from one region to another, from 5% in Africa to 21% in the western Pacific. More than a quarter of all deaths in the UK – 27% – were from cancer.

Cancer Research UK (Cruk) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an arm of the World Health Organisation, are releasing their report as the first United Nations summit opens in New York on tackling the killer diseases that every nation is now having to confront: heart and lung diseases, diabetes and cancer.

These so-called “non-communicable diseases”, which have all taken off as sedentary lifestyles, junk food, smoking and drinking have spread around the planet, are already a massive burden on rich countries and are steadily becoming one in poorer countries, too.

Cruk has high hopes of the summit, which is intended to focus the attention of government leaders on ways of preventing as well as treating the new scourge. “While it is clear that tackling cancer worldwide will remain one of the major challenges in the 21st century, this high-level meeting will finally put cancer on the global agenda, providing the biggest and best opportunity to drive forward major changes in this area,” says its report.

Worldwide, men are more likely to get cancer than women – 204 out of every 100,000 men and 165 per 100,000 women got cancer in 2008, according to age-standardised data. The incidence rate is rising fast in the developing world but is still markedly lower in Africa, where 88 per 100,000 people got cancer, than in North America and western Europe, where 334 and 335 people respectively per 100,000 were diagnosed.

Data is not well collected or kept in most developing countries, but the younger age of the population and different diets and lifestyles play a big part. The highest incidence among men in the world was in France and Australia, which had 361 cases per 100,000. Among women, it was Denmark, with 325 per 100,000. The UK rate was 33rd highest among men and 12th for women.

Four common cancers are responsible for 45% of the death toll, says the report – lung cancer, which is the biggest killer among men, liver, stomach and colorectum. In the UK, the biggest killers are lung, colorectum, breast and prostate.

For several decades, lung cancer has been the most common cancer in the world. In 2008, there were 1.6m diagnoses and the largest proportion – 55% – is now in the developing world, where public smoking bans and advertising restrictions generally do not apply.

The declaration to be signed at the end of the UN meeting will call on governments to take action against tobacco marketing. About a quarter of all adults in the world – more than 1 billion people – are thought to smoke. In Europe, male smoking has peaked, but the habit is still on the increase among young women and girls. The UK has the seventh highest lung cancer rate in women among 184 countries with reliable statistics in the world.

Breast cancer is by far the most common cancer among women, with 1.38mdiagnoses in 2008, which is a quarter of the total for women. It affects a larger proportion of women in wealthy countries, although the developing countries have high numbers and it is a growing problem there.

Reproductive behaviour – having fewer children and postponing childbearing, and breastfeeding less – as well as weight, lack of exercise and drinking are all thought to be factors in the rise in cases. Breast cancer is the most common cause of death among women worldwide.

Cervical cancer hits developing countries hardest as screening, vaccination and treatment bring the numbers down in the richer world. More than eight out of 10 cases (86%) are now in the developing world, and 88% of the 275,000 deaths. The UK death rate is low, ranked 157th out of 184 countries on mortality rates.

SOURCE