As a religious fanatic, my alcohol-soaked blood shot eyes often bulging as if on stalks, I look daily for material to support my crazed world view, that most of my fellow fringe dwellers find somewhat extreme, except for Uncle Len, who always goes one level crazier than me, just for the hell of it. Take locust plagues, which are seemingly everywhere in Africa and Asia. Science may have an answer based on resources and food supply, but for me, it is clearly a prophecy of end times:
“Locust swarms threaten a “rolling emergency” that could endanger harvests and food security across parts of Africa and Asia for the rest of the year, experts warn. An initial infestation of locusts in December was expected to die out during the current dry season. But unseasonal rains have allowed several generations of locust to breed, resulting in new swarms forming. Huge swarms of locusts have been causing devastation across swathes of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Erratic weather conditions and storms have aided their path. As a result, countries have been battling the pests for months to avoid a hunger crisis. Desert locusts, which live in areas between west Africa and India, cause the most devastation and like to breed in moist conditions. These locusts live for three months. Eggs hatch two weeks after they have been laid, and hoppers become adults after about six weeks. Adult locusts can eat their body weight every day, and fly up to 150km a day in search of new supplies. Kenya is experiencing its worst infestation for 70 years, with pastoralists complaining that the vegetation on which their livestock feeds is being wiped out. Ethiopia and Somalia have not seen an outbreak this bad for 25 years. Swarms have also been destroying crops in Uganda, India and Pakistan. Fears that millions of people could be forced into hunger prompted mass control operations earlier in the year, which have had an impact in Kenya and southern Ethiopia. But experts fear rains and insecurity in Somalia and South Sudan could undermine efforts in the east and Horn of Africa. Keith Cressman, locust forecasting expert for the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, said that over the coming months locusts are expected to move farther north into Ethiopia and South Sudan. High food prices in South Sudan could compound the threat of hunger.