A swarm of millions of locusts descended upon Madagascar’s capital of Antananarivo on Aug. 28, slowing traffic and blotting out the skies over the city.
Fully-formed clouds of the insects, which have plagued the African nation for more than two years, whizzed through the city’s streets after an urban heat wave attracted the bugs away from their usual rural surroundings.
“It reminds us of the 10 plagues of Egypt,” said Ronald Miller, a missionary working in Madagascar with his family.
Miller captured video of the incident and posted it to his Facebook page.
The current plague began in April 2012, leading to a national disaster declaration in Madagascar in November of that year, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The island nation’s government announced a three-year emergency plan in September 2013, when the locusts threatened food security of more than 13 million people, almost 60 percent of Madagascar’s population.
But while the images are alarming, FAO officer Annie Monard told Voice of America that the locust swarms in the city were caused by unusually high temperatures, not a new surge in the pest population. So far, the FAO and Madagascar’s government have succeeded in controlling the pests in over 4,600 square miles of agricultural land. Madagascar’s emergency plan will continue until 2016 and is expected to cost more than $41 million.
Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone. And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them. In appearance the locusts were like horses prepared for battle: on their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces.