Displaying items by tag: Africa
The locusts are swiftly breeding and their numbers could increase 400-fold by June if the infestation is left unchecked, the UN has warned.
Countries in East Africa are racing against time to prevent new swarms of locusts wreaking havoc with crops and livelihoods after the worst infestation in generations.
A lack of expertise in controlling the pests is not their only problem: Kenya temporarily ran out of pesticides, Ethiopia needs more planes and Somalia and Yemen, torn by civil war, can't guarantee exterminators' safety.
Locust swarms have been recorded in the region since biblical times, but unusual weather patterns exacerbated by climate change have created ideal conditions for insect numbers to surge, scientists say.
Warmer seas are creating more rain, wakening dormant eggs, and cyclones that disperse the swarms are getting stronger and more frequent.
In Ethiopia the locusts have reached the fertile Rift Valley farmland and stripped grazing grounds in Kenya and Somalia. Swarms can travel up to 150 km (93 miles) a day and contain between 40-80 million locusts per square kilometre.
If left unchecked, the number of locusts in East Africa could explode 400-fold by June. That would devastate harvests in a region with more than 19 million hungry people, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned.
Uganda has deployed the military. Kenya has trained hundreds of youth cadets to spray. Lacking pesticides, some security forces in Somalia have shot anti-aircraft guns at swarms darkening the skies.
Everyone is racing the rains expected in March: the next generation of larvae is already wriggling from the ground, just as farmers plant their seeds.
"The second wave is coming," said Cyril Ferrand, FAO's head of resilience for Eastern Africa. "As crops are planted, locusts will eat everything."
The impact so far on agriculture, which generates about a third of East Africa's economic output, is unknown, but FAO is using satellite images to assess the damage, he said.
This month, Kenya ran out of pesticide for about a week and a half, he said. Farmers watched helplessly as their families' crops were devoured. In Ethiopia, the government can only afford to rent four planes for aerial spraying, but it needs at least twice that number to contain the outbreak before harvesting begins in March, Zebdewos Salato, director of plant protection at the Ministry of Agriculture, told Reuters. "We are running out of time," he said.
Meanwhile, locusts - which have a life cycle of three months - are breeding. FAO says each generation is an average of 20 times more numerous. When eggs hatch, as they are doing now in northern Kenya, the hungry young locusts are earthbound for two weeks and more vulnerable to spraying than when they grow wings.
After that, they take to the air in swarms so dense they have forced aircraft to divert. A single square kilometre swarm can eat as much food in a day as 35,000 people. FAO said containing the plague will cost at least $138 million. So far, donors have pledged $52 million. Failure means more hunger in a region already battered by conflict and climate shocks.
Since 2016, there have been droughts in Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, then floods, Ferrand said. In South Sudan, more than half the population already faces food shortages.
By Omar Mohammed and Dawit Endeshaw
More at: https://news.trust.org/item/20200227122340-3t5r8
Pray: that sufficient resources, pesticides and planes will be made available to tackle this problem before it escalates or spreads further.
Pray: for a divine intervention that will stop the breeding and spread of these swarms in their tracks.
Pray: into this prophetic word from David Sseppuuya that these nations will seek repentance that will lead to restoration.
Pray: for the Church to rise up in these countries and to take a spiritual lead. (Joel 2:15-17)
After months of unrelenting demonstrations led to the fall of President Omar al-Bashir last year, Sudan entered a three-year transition towards democracy with a new cabinet in September. Hope accompanies this situation as people look for a fresh approach that will respond to their needs. Many believe only time will show whether this hope will stand. Pray that the preliminary peace deal with the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement will stand and end 9 years of fighting in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan areas. Meanwhile, efforts to conclude a peace agreement with rebels in Darfur and Eastern Sudan are also under way. Important progress was made this month when Sudan announced that it was willing in principle to hand over ousted President Omar al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court over alleged war crimes and genocide in these areas.
Mali was under French colonial rule until early 1959, when it assumed independence. However, France has 5,500 troops there working to keep the peace. Now France’s defence minister has said they will boost its military presence in the area to counter increasing violence carried out by armed groups. 600 additional troops will be deployed by March. On 14 February at least 40 people were killed in Ogossagou, the Fulani village that was targeted in a massacre of 160 people last year by Dogon militiamen. Huts and crops were set alight, livestock burned or taken away, and 28 people are missing. Clashes between the Dogon and Fulani ethnic groups are frequent, compounding a dire security situation in Mali's semi-arid and desert regions, where attacks by armed groups are common. See also
Twenty-four people, including the pastor, were killed and eighteen injured by gunmen at a Protestant church in the village of Pansi. Individuals were also kidnapped during the Sunday attack by armed terrorists. The regional governor, Colonel Salfo Kabore, said they attacked the peaceful local Christian population, after having identified them and separated them from ‘non-residents’. Some villagers fled to the town of Sebba near the Niger border. There have been several attacks against churches by militant Islamist groups in recent years. Pray for those people of Burkina Faso who are at serious risk of being killed for not converting to extreme factions of Islam.
Somalia has declared a national emergency as desert locusts destroy vegetation. An average swarm containing 40 million insects can travel 150 km in 24 hours, devouring enough food to feed 34 million people in that time. The UN said it is a race against time to tackle this invasion amidst ongoing humanitarian challenges. A spokesman said, ‘We do have a chance to nip this problem in the bud, but that’s not what we’re doing at the moment.’ Kenya’s food security is threatened, particularly communities keeping livestock on endangered pastures. Swarms crossed into Uganda on 9 February, and Tanzania and South Sudan are now on the UN’s ‘watch list’. Also, insufficient rain means that over two million Somalis will need emergency food aid this year after the worst harvest in 25 years. 300,000 were displaced in eight months; many have headed for the capital, Mogadishu. Six million Kenyans are food-insecure, while seven million Zimbabweans need aid after successive droughts and an inflation rate of 300%. Urban families are feeling the pinch of soaring prices. See
Tanzania has seen an increase in ‘prosperity gospel’ pastors promising to lift people out of poverty and perform what they call miracle cures. A stampede occurred when Boniface Mwamposa, calling himself ‘the Apostle’, poured what he said was holy oil on the ground and the crowd surged forward to touch it, hoping to be cured of sickness. Twenty people died and sixteen were injured. Five of those killed were children. Authorities are assessing the situation, amid fears that the death toll could rise. Peter Kilewo, a witness, described the scene as ‘horrible’. ‘People trampled on mercilessly, jostling each other with elbows. It was as if the preacher had thrown bundles of dollars about, and there were all these deaths!’ Thousands flock to Pentecostal churches, whose main source of income is the tithe that worshippers are asked to give.
On 2 January, Rev Lawan Andimi was abducted by Boko Haram. He pleaded with the government and the leadership of CAN (Christian Association of Nigeria) to come to his rescue, adding that his captors were taking good care of him and ‘hoped he would return home safely if it was the will of God’. The insurgents demanded two million euros for his release, but then went ahead and beheaded him. Bishop Mamza, of CAN, said that another pastor had been abducted and killed almost at the same time. Stating that Boko Haram had not been defeated or suppressed, he urged the government to tell Nigerians the truth. President Buhari expressed sadness and sympathy, but another CAN spokesman described the unabated kidnappings and killings as ‘shameful’ to the government. Pray for God’s comfort to embrace those living in sorrow and fear.
A Muslim-majority country of 41 million, Algeria depends on fossil fuels for its export income. It struggles to provide jobs and homes for its people. Democracy and human rights exist on paper, less so in reality. A movement to Christ is happening in Algeria. Most new believers come from a Kabyle Berber (non-Arab) background, but faith is growing among Arabs and most other people groups as well. New fellowships have begun throughout Algeria, partly because Berbers have moved into Arab areas to share the good news. Persecution is a fact of life. One Christian woman wrote: ‘Women who convert to Jesus Christ face new challenges, which sometimes cost them dearly. They face rejection by their families. Others are repudiated by their husbands because of their faith. They can even be deprived of their children.’ Pray for new hope for Algeria’s youthful urban population and its rural poor.
Outrage trailed the murder of the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State, Rev. Lawan Andimi after Boko Haram insurgents who kidnapped him rejected a N50 million ransom.
The state CAN chairman, Bishop Dami Mamza, who broke the sad news to some journalists in Yola, said that the insurgents had demanded two million euros (about N50 million) and still went ahead to kill the innocent cleric.
Bishop Mamza, who said that the killing was communicated to them through their contact, added that another pastor was abducted and killed almost at the same time with the kidnapped and murdered cleric from Michika.
Mamza said that Boko Haram had not been defeated or suppressed, asking the government to tell Nigerians the truth.
“Negotiations were still ongoing when they stopped calling. They were offered N50 million but they rejected it. They called his wife last week, informing her that they would be beheading him (Andimi) on Saturday, but somehow, they waited till Monday.”
The state CAN chairman lamented the constant attacks on Christians in the country, citing the killing of Pastor Dennis Bagauri of the Lutheran Church in Mayo-Belwa area by suspected kidnappers on Sunday.
President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the killing of Andimi, describing it as cruel, inhuman and deliberately provocative. In his reaction to the incident, President Buhari expressed sorrow that the terrorists went on to kill the religious leader while giving signals at the same time of a willingness to set him free by releasing him to third parties.
Buhari consoled with the Christian community all over Nigeria, the government and people of Adamawa State and the bishop’s family over the sad loss of the cleric. He promised that terrorists would continue to pay a heavy price for their actions and would comprehensively be defeated by the armed forces.
The president urged nations of the world to end all support provided to Boko Haram and Islam in West Africa (ISWA) terrorist groups whose only goal is to sow death, violence, and destruction in the sub-region.
Andimi, who was declared missing on January 2, 2020, had in a video published on January 5, confirmed that he was in the custody of Boko Haram. He had pleaded with the Adamawa State Government and the CAN leadership to come to his rescue, adding that his captors did not maltreat him, as they were taking good care of him. The cleric, who spoke in Hausa and English intermittently, urged his family not to be afraid, adding that he would return home safely if it was the will of God.
He said: “I have never been discouraged because everything is in the hands of God. God who made them to take care of me and leave me alive will touch them. So, I am appealing to fellow reverends particularly my President, Rev. Joel Billy, who is a strong man of love that he will do his best to speak with our governor and other necessary agents for my release.
The national CAN expressed sadness over the murder of Andimi.
In a statement, yesterday in Abuja, the Director, Legal and Public Affairs of CAN, Evangelist Kwamkur Samuel Vondip, said the church viewed the unabated kidnappings, extortions and killings of Christians and other innocent Nigerians as shameful to the government that each time boasts that it has conquered insurgency.
He questioned why the Buhari-led government has not overhauled the security architecture with a view to injecting new ideas into the security system since the agencies are not living up to the expectations of the government.
Vondip observed that the church is almost losing hope in the government’s ability to protect Nigerians, especially Christians who have become endangered species on its watch. He called on the international community, particularly the United States, U.K., Germany, and Israel, to come to the aid of Nigeria, especially, the church so that they might not be eliminated one by one.
Pray for the family of Rev. Lawan Andimi and all those who are sensing the loss of this man of God.
Pray that his martyrdom will not be in vain.
Pray that the perpetrators will be brought to justice.
Pray that the Nigerian Government will redouble its efforts to improve security for the Christian church and to rid the affected Northern regions of the terrorist threat.
With rich countries like the US evacuating their students, Doctor Bakari, a Tanzanian PhD student, has become a leader for hundreds of students from poorer African countries stranded in Wuhan with little chance of escape. Beijing’s expanding influence on the youthful African continent means Africans are the second-largest population of foreign students. Over 4,000 are estimated to be in Wuhan alone. No one knows how long the lockdown will last, or all the ways the virus can spread. Students fear that angering Chinese or their country’s authorities could lead to retribution such as withdrawing scholarships. Kenya’s government had to defend itself against accusations that it was not helping its students. ‘Students don’t have a clue what’s going on’, says Bakari, who is sending updates on social media to 400+ Tanzanian students in Wuhan and hundreds more across China. ‘Together we are one family,’ his association tweeted, encouraging fellow Africans to take precautionary measures.