Locusts swarm Egypt over the past several days, reaching the capital of Cairo. Residents have started burning tires in the hopes that the smoke will drive them away.
Several districts in the Egyptian capital of Cairo have been swarmed by locusts, forcing residents to burn tires to create a black smoke to prevent the insects from staying in the city. The insects arrived just ahead of the Jewish holiday of Passover.
Earlier, swarms of locusts were said to have reached the Red Sea city of Zafarana, located around 150 miles east of Cairo, reported state-run Ahram Online. Locusts were also spotted in the Upper Egyptian city of Qena in three villages.
The “plague of locusts” could also hit the Nile Delta, experts told Ahram.
Swarms of the insects have been noted since January along the Red Sea in Egypt, as well as in Sudan, Eritrea, and Saudi Arabia.
But Ministry of Agriculture official Salah Moawad denied that the locusts have done any damage to crops in Egypt, reported Al-Bawaba.
“The current inspection teams at areas targeted by locusts did not witness swarms damaging a single inch of crop till now,” he said.
The locusts, he said, are “sexually immature and do not depend on plants for energy since they mainly rely on fat stores.”
The Minister of Agriculture Salah Abdel Momen on Friday also said the locusts have not damaged crops.
“The locusts are merely storing fat on their bodies while they go on their spring migration outside of Egypt,” Abdel Momen said.
The Israel-based Arutz Sheva broadcaster noted that the millions of locusts appeared in Egypt just in time for Passover. It reported that locusts also descended upon Giza, where the famous pyramids are located.
Momen called on residents of Cairo to not burn tires or attempt to drive away the locusts themselves. “Egyptian armed forces and border guards are attempting to fight the swarm with all means at their disposal,” he said, according to the broadcaster.
“I ask the families living in the locust-plagues areas not to burn tires,” Mamon said. “This does not chase away the locusts, but only causes damage and could ignite large-scale fires that would cost in lives.”
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