28 Mar 2013

March 28th

Have humans incited the wrath of God? Now, as well as Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel, a severe plague of locusts has descended over the unique island of Madagascar

Quote from the bible, Exodus 10. 'The Lord said to Moses: Let my people go, so that they may worship me.  If you refuse to let them go, I will bring locusts into your country tomorrow. They will cover the face of the ground so that it cannot be seen. They will devour what little you have left after the hail, including every tree that is growing in your fields'.

Whether we believe the bible word-for-word or not, the collection of stories forms part of our history. Presumably, the change from grasshopper to locust was a natural occurrence even then, and one feared by mankind. It must have been terrifying to have all available food wiped out by an unstoppable swarm.

The island of Madagascar is heavily exposed to tropical cyclones which bring torrential rains and destructive floods. A recent cyclone provided optimum conditions which allowed another generation of locusts to breed. About half the country is infested by hoppers and flying swarms made up of billions of plant-devouring insects.

Madagascar is the world's fourth biggest island. Because of its isolation off the east coast of Africa, most of its mammals, half its birds, and most of its plants exist nowhere else on earth. Click here to see the unique mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, trees including Baobabs and the habitats. The World Bank has estimated that 70% of the population lives on less than $1 per day. Poverty and the competition for agricultural land have put pressure on the island's dwindling forests, home to much of Madagascar's unique wildlife and key to its emerging tourist industry.

Now, locusts will devour rice crops and decimate livestock. 22m people could be threatened by a significant worsening of hunger in a country that already had extremely high rates of food insecurity and malnutrition. The UN's Food and Agricultural Organization estimated the need for $22m to avert starvation for  60% of the population. 

I can't help wondering why groups already at risk are the ones most likely to suffer hardship. Divine providence or Mother Nature's forces? No matter which, the weak are targeted.


  1. They always are.

    Hugs and chocolate,

  2. I suppose there's a big difference between those who are starving in Madagascar and the hungry families who have been sent to one of our UK Food Banks that you spoke of earlier. The real problem seems to be that there are so many people suffering in so many different ways all over the world. I wish it would stop!

    That section of the Bible is read out as part of the Passover Seder service which took place in Jewish houses across the world on Monday and Tuesday evenings. It must have been very frightening indeed.

    1. How can we change the way of the world? There have always been hungry people, suffering people, children dying from starvation. It's heartbreaking.
      Interesting about the Passover Seder service. I didn't know that.

  3. I'm sorry to hear about this. I was just at a museum earlier today, and there was a picture of the damage to a farm from a swarm of grasshoppers that infested the state one year. It's amazing how much damage can be done by one type of animal. I hope they can get through this alright. This is an island that needs to be preserved or so much is lost.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

    1. Let's hope the people survive. Other people are so generous in times of need.


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