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Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Biblical Plague Of Locust Swarms Invade Mecca, Saudi Arabia

Biblical Plague Of Locust Swarms Invade Mecca, Saudi Arabia

AN UNPRECEDENTED swarm of deadly locusts invaded one of the world’s holiest sites this week as Mecca faced an infestation of “biblical proportions”.

A massive swarm of locusts has plagued Mecca this week, as officials struggle to remove the infestation at Islam’s holiest site. Shocking footage posted on social media showed how the locust swarms  covered the Great Mosque in Saudi Arabia. The Makkah Municipality confirmed the phenomenon which residents claim has never been seen before.

Authorities have since dispatched a huge cleaning operation, as crews desperately try to eradicate the insects.

Biblical Plague Of Locust Swarms Invade Mecca, Saudi Arabia

Biblical Plague Of Locust Swarms Invade Mecca, Saudi Arabia

Clips show sanitation workers deployed to spray insecticide around the infested sites.

Others images also show locusts buzzing around light fixtures, clinging to marble surfaces and even blanketing praying pilgrims.

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Another clip shows the ground near the famous building littered with dead locusts.

Local resident Abdulwhab Soror, 64, said: “On Saturday night I was praying at the Holy Mosque and the insects were everywhere, the mosque was drawing them in, not only in the yards, but even around the Kabba.

“I’ve been living in Makkah my whole life, I’ve never witnessed something like this before.”

Dr Jacky Judas, manager and scientific adviser of terrestrial biodiversity at the WWF and Emirates Nature, said that this was a first.

She said: “This is the first time for me to see this species in big numbers, I am not surprised that people are saying the same. I have never seen this species in these big numbers.

“It could be an incident where one captive breeding has escaped and spread in big numbers, otherwise maybe there has been specific conditions that favour their development and breeding, but I don’t know what that would be.”

Officials said: “Specialized teams have been directed to work in the fight to eliminate these insects.

“We have harnessed all efforts available to speed up the eradication of the insects in the interest of the safety and comfort of guests of God’s house.”

Experts identified identified the locusts as migratory “black grasshoppers” – putting the total number at around 30,000.

They added that 22 teams consisting of 138 people were dispatched to deal with the infestation.

Millions of Muslims visit The Great Mosque every year, as part of the Haj and Umrah pilgrimages.

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