News / Africa

Locust Swarms Fill Antananarivo Skies

Locusts are seen in the Menabe region of western Madagascar, March 29, 2013. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that half the island nation has been infected by locusts which are threatening the production of rice, the country's main staple. Picture taken March 29, 2013. REUTERS/Clarel Faniry Rasoanaivo (MADAGASCAR - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT SOCIETY ANIMALS FOOD BUSINESS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTXY4O2
Locusts are seen in the Menabe region of western Madagascar, March 29, 2013. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that half the island nation has been infected by locusts which are threatening the production of rice, the country's main staple. Picture taken March 29, 2013. REUTERS/Clarel Faniry Rasoanaivo (MADAGASCAR - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT SOCIETY ANIMALS FOOD BUSINESS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTXY4O2

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua

Locust swarms filled the skies over Madagascar’s capital this week. However, an expert says it does not mean the locust plague in the nation has returned.

Annie Monard said the locust swarms over Antananarivo were caused by “exceptional weather” for the city -- high temperatures and winds blowing towards the capital. Usually, she said, the locusts won’t fly there because of the city’s altitude and lower temperatures.

Monard is in charge of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s locust campaign in Madagascar. She sounded the alarm years ago, warning of a plague if control measures were not conducted. They did not start on time due to a funding shortfall and a locust plague was officially declared. The nation’s crops were at risk.

“A large-scale control campaign started in September 2013 and the campaign has the duration mainly of the rainy season. A lot of operations were carried out during that time and they are still ongoing. And more than one-point-two million hectares were treated,” she said.

The first phase of the control campaign stopped the plague from growing worse. But more must be done to get the locust numbers down to pre-plague levels, known as a recession period. That’s when there are only scattered locust populations, which is normal for Madagascar.

“Now, it’s necessary to continue because we stopped the plague, but there are still locust populations in the southwestern part of Madagascar and in the western part of Madagascar. And it is necessary to continue controlling these locust populations and the remaining swarms to avoid the plague from starting again,” said Monard.

The FAO expert said two more large-scale locust campaigns are needed. However, funds are still being collected before the next program begins. She added that to be effective the second campaign should start very soon.

“The second campaign will start during the second half of September in order to have the teams in place in the field. The helicopter is planned to arrive in early October and the treatments start again with the rainy season, which should start in September/October as usual. [That’s] because the breeding of the locust populations starts with the rainy season.”

The FAO had warned that without locust control campaigns in Madagascar the livelihoods of 13-million people would be at risk. 

You May Like

Multimedia Ferguson Grand Jury Reaches Decision

Missouri town, many Americans on edge over whether jurors will indict white police officer in August shooting death of unarmed black teen More

Corruption Fighters Want More From World’s Strongest Nations

Anti-corruption activists say final communique fell short of expectations and failed to fully address systemic problems More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid