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

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid