Reports of the Narok River in Africa turning mysteriously blood red have been debunked but a record-breaking plague of locusts in the same region is quite true.
Africa Check, a media watchdog focusing on all matters concerning Africa, refuted reports that the Narok River in Kenya had turned blood red. The original claim came from a Facebook post in Kiswahili that claimed, “Niliwaambia ni kubaya plagues ndio hizo. Miguna Miguna ndio Moses na mumemweka nje. Uhuru ni pharaoh.”
Africa Check translated this as, “ “Things are thick. The [biblical] plagues are here. Miguna Miguna is Moses and [president] Uhuru [Kenyatta] is the pharaoh.” The site identified Miguna as an outspoken Kenyan lawyer and politician who was deported in 2018 for opposition to the current government.
The Facebook post included a photo of a blood-red river that seemed to be like the first Biblical plague in Egypt in which the Nile River turned to blood. The Facebook post was clearly evoking the wrath of God against Egypt for its oppression of the Hebrews as a means of conveying a political warning to the current regime in Kenya.
Africa Check carried out a reverse image search and discovered that the blood-red river depicted in the Facebook post was not, in fact, current or taken in Africa. The photo was originally posted by a Russian Instagram user in September 2016 showing the Daldykan river in Russia, which flows through the industrial city of Norilsk above the Arctic Circle. ABC News reported at the time that Russia’s Environment Ministry had issued a statement that preliminary information suggested the cause was a leak from factory waste pipes.
The site did admit that reports of a plague of locusts in Africa are accurate. The most serious outbreak of locusts in 25 years is spreading across East Africa and posing an unprecedented threat to food security in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries, authorities stated.
One swarm in the country’s northeast measures 60 kilometers long by 40 kilometers wide. In a statement, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) said a typical desert locust swarm could contain up to 150 million locusts per square kilometer.
“Swarms migrate with the wind and can cover 100 to 150 kilometers in a day,” the IGAD said. The outbreak of desert locusts, considered the most dangerous locust species, has also affected parts of Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea, and IGAD warned that parts of South Sudan and Uganda could be next. The locusts continue to breed is continuing on both sides of the Red Sea, in Sudan and Eritrea and in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
For the Biblically inclined, swarms of locusts evoke images of pre-Exodus Egypt.
They covered the face of the whole land, so that the land was darkened, and they ate all the plants in the land and all the fruit of the trees that the hail had left. Not a green thing remained neither tree nor plant of the field, through all the land of Egypt. (Exodus 10:15)