State of emergency declared as worst locust swarms in more than 30 years plague southern Russia – ‘There is nothing left of the corn. The locusts ate it all, from the leaves to the cobs.’Posted by Jim at Wednesday, August 05, 2015
By Matthew Chance
5 August 2015
Moscow (CNN) – Millions of locusts have descended on farmlands in southern Russia, devouring entire fields of crops and causing officials to declare a state of emergency in the region.
A vast area of at least 800,000 hectares is currently being affected as the swarms of insects, each measuring about 8 centimeters long, annihilate fields of corn and other crops.
It's been more than 30 years since this part of southern Russia suffered such a dense plague of locusts, according to local officials.
Officials say at least 10% of crops have already been destroyed, and the locust feeding frenzy is far from over, threatening to devastate the livelihoods of local farmers.
Walking through what remains of his corn field in the Stavropol region, one farmer, Pyotr Stepanchenka, looks distraught.
"Look," he says to the camera, "there is nothing left of the corn. The locusts ate it all, from the leaves to the cobs."
On state television, Russian news broadcasts are linking the plague to climate change, connecting the phenomenon to recent flooding amid higher than average temperatures.
Officials from the Russian ministry of agriculture have declared a state of emergency, but appear helpless to prevent the destruction. [more]