The Pope resigns and then a swarm of locusts descends upon Egypt. Coincidence? Well, probably, but it’s hard not to draw references to the Bible when a swarm thought to contain 30 million insects buzzes over an ancient city in the days before Passover.
The cloud of insects was first spotted buzzing over the capital of Cairo, the pyramid-city of Giza and surrounding agricultural land over the weekend. The insects were not part of a biblical plague, government officials assured citizens. Rather, they were on their way across the country as part of a seasonal migration, said a spokesperson for the Ministry of Agriculture.
The insects arrived just before Jewish Passover, which runs from March 25 to April 1. “In the biblical book of Exodus, locusts are one of 10 plagues delivered upon Egypt after the pharaoh refused to free the enslaved Israelites,” writes Time magazine.
By Monday, the swarm started to make its way across the border into Israel and farmers were instructed to call a hotline if they spotted the insects.
The government said it was prepared to take action. “For Israel, aerial and ground pesticides are being arranged and are ready to activate if and when we need them,” Miriam Freund, director of Plant Protection and Inspection Services, told The Jerusalem Post.
Here’s an (unverified) video showing the swarm: