Billions of Locusts Swarm Skies of Madagascar; Invasion Caught on Video

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(Photo: Reuters/Pierre Holtz)Senegalese children run as locusts spread in the capital Dakar September 1, 2004. Only a military-style operation with bases across West Africa can stop the worst locust invasion for 15 years, Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade said on Tuesday as the insects swept into his capital. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warned last week that the locust swarms infesting countries from Mauritania to Chad could develop into a full-scale plague without additional foreign aid.

Billions of locusts clouded the sky over Madagascar's capital Antananarivo starting last week.

It is believed that the largest swarms have covered hundreds of square miles starting on Thursday, Aug. 28, and the locusts have caused alarm as well as damage to local crops. Video footage by Sylvain Lathuy captured the disturbing sight, which resembled a scene described in Exodus 10 in the Bible.

"It reminds us of the 10 plagues of Egypt," said missionary Ronald Miller who is working in Madagascar, according to ABC News.

Exodus 10:12 reads, "And the Lord said to Moses, stretch out your hand over Egypt so that locusts swarm over the land and devour everything growing in the fields, everything left by the hail."

Locusts are also mentioned in Revelation 9: "Then locusts came from the smoke and descended on the earth, and their power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power."

It is believed that swarms of locusts were driven to Antananarivo on Thursday by a heat wave. The insects were displaced to the city, away from their more remote habitat, as they obscured the skies and wreaked havoc in the area. The food security of more than 13 million people, almost 60 percent of the country's population, is at risk.

It is the third year that locusts descended on the east African country's farmlands. The swarm is now an annual event that marks the locusts' migration. Since the insects can consume their own body weight in food, the invasion could prove devastating to Madagascar's nine million agricultural workers. Farmers desperate to save their crops began using fires as well as use of insecticides, according to the Independent.

Furthermore, the United Nation's Food Agriculture Organization launched an emergency campaign to stop the locust epidemic, but it proved unsuccessful.