The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Locusts over Cairo

Locusts over the PyramidsMoritz left a comment in a previous post asking about the locust swarm that came over Cairo a couple of days ago and is making its way to the Mediterranean. I didn't see it myself -- they didn't come to my neighborhood -- and I think it was pretty localized. My pals over at Reuters -- whose Cairo offices in central Cairo are high up with a great view of the city and the Pyramids (if the smog isn't too dense) seem to have gotten a good shot, as you can see from the picture on the right.

What was funny is that state TV interrupted normal broadcasts and some minister (I can't remember which) said that people has nothing to worry about as they were not aggressive. My cleaning lady was there when we were watching it, and, in typical Egyptian fashion, assured me the minister was a liar and that she had it on good evidence from a friend of a friend of her sister's that a women in her neighborhood had been attacked and that the locusts had pocked holes in her face.

More seriously, the locusts could have done serious damage to crops if it had been slightly hotter -- they don't feed below 30C, apparently. Where they might be causing a famine, however, is in already impoverished Mauritania.

If you want to help, donate to Oxfam which has a program to help with the locust attack.