The ninth Bible plague meant three days of darkness, nowadays commonly believed to have been caused by a sandstorm. Sandstorms have ravaged the face of the earth for millions of years and transformed entire continents. Grains of sand from deserts are often blown huge distances, carrying with them not only fungi and viruses but also pollutants and environmental toxins. Beijing suffers particularly badly from violent sandstorms and the Chinese government has launched an ambitious program of prevention.
To punish the Egyptian Pharaoh for enslaving the Israelites and refusing to let them leave, God sent down ten plagues on Egypt. The fourth was the plague of locusts. Hans-Joerg Ferenz of the University of Halle in Germany is researching ways of combating locust plagues and has found, that under certain conditions, solitary locusts develop into swarming locusts.
According to the Bible, to punish the Egyptian Pharaoh for enslaving the Israelites and refusing to let them leave, God sent down ten plagues on Egypt. "For the Seventh plague, God sent several storms. Thunder and lightening and hail flashed down on the land of Egypt. It was the worst storm in the land of Egypt since it had become a nation." Reports of hail disasters have become more common. Insurance claims for hail damage have doubled every two years. The storms have devastating results for farms and destroy crops. Some attribute the increase in these events to global warming.
In the Bible, God is said to have sent swarms of flies upon the Egyptians. Nowadays swarms of mosquitoes still descend upon us. The females inject the malaria parasite, plasmodium, which reproduces rapidly in the blood. Recurring bouts of fever weaken the victims until they die. The danger of dying of malaria is particularly high in eastern Africa. At the Kenya Research Institute scientists are trying to establish what it is exactly that attracts mosquitoes.
The bible called them plagues, but we call them natural disasters. They are actually one of the same. And the biblical plagues are coming back. The first episode examines the first biblical plague of Egypt, the Nile waters turning into blood, and how the plague has returned in the form of toxic algal blooms. Each episode of this series analyses the individual biblical plague from a historical and theological perspective, and explains the connection to modern natural events.
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