The real reasons Africa has another locust plague

The UN, environmentalist pressure groups and their financial backers have a lot to answer for

Paul Driessen

The ChiCom coronavirus and COVID-19 outbreaks, deaths and responses continue to dominate US, European and Asian news. Meanwhile, a very different infestation is devastating East African crops and leaving tens of millions at risk of starvation and death. If COVID hits these weakened populations, amid their malaria and other systemic diseases, it would bring tragedy on unimaginable scales.

“Across Somalia, desert locusts in a swarm the size of Manhattan have destroyed a swath of farmland as big as Oklahoma,” the Wall Street Journal’s Nicholas Bariyo reports. “In Kenya, billions-strong clouds of the insects have eaten through 800 square miles of crops and survived a weeks-long spraying campaign. They have “swept across more than 10 nations on two continents.” In parts of East Africa they “are destroying some 1.8 million metric tons of vegetation every day, enough food to feed 81 million people.”

East Africa has a Desert Locust Control Organization. But it, the region and the individual countries were totally unprepared for the onslaught, unaware the hordes were coming, irresponsibly underfunded, with almost no pesticides or aircraft to spray them. By the time they acted, it was too little, too late.

The massive swarms are hardly unprecedented. Locusts “covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they ate every herb of the land and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left. So there remained nothing green on the trees or on the plants of the field throughout all the land of Egypt.” [Exodus 10:15] Locusts pillaged long before that, and have returned hundreds of times since.

The 1986-87 plague was calamitous. As the late entomologist Dr. J. Gordon Edwards noted in 1988, four major locust species hatched simultaneously in 15 countries, and the crops were so totally devastated that the UN Food and Agricultural Organization predicted 50 million Africans and Asians might starve to death. Malnourished survivors would suffer reduced mental capacity and have greater susceptibility to diseases. Other near-biblical infestations have ravaged Africa with predictable regularity and results.

The obvious, burning, essential question is this: In this era of amazing modern agriculture, aviation and pest control technologies, how could Africa have reached this frightening precipice yet again?

These 2019-2020 swarms originated in the vast deserts of Oman, Somalia and Yemen, parts of which are lawless and war-torn. That made it difficult and dangerous to monitor them for the emergence of billions of “hoppers,” following tumultuous downpours two years ago – or to spray them with insecticides when they were most vulnerable, before their wings matured and they could fly thousands of miles. But it also means East African countries needed to work together, despite these obstacles, to prevent such plagues.

These are horrifically poor countries, where bureaucrats live relatively well largely on outside donor funds, often corrupt top-gun politicians live very well on the same money, and some 90% of the people exist on a few dollars a day, on the edge of starvation and debilitating disease, tilling tiny patches of land.

Too often their governments’ ability to plan for recurring crises like this are minimal, their priorities are skewed to whatever the donors want, and funding for insect control is minimal at best. Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda didn’t even pay their Locust Control membership dues for years, or decades – much less acquire the aircraft and pesticides they would need for the inevitable next locust plague. Their focus was on elections (getting reelected), essential or just showy infrastructure projects, and climate change.

Indeed, it seems nothing will be allowed to get in the way of the UN, EU and environmentalist obsession with climate change as the single greatest threat facing humanity and planet. But climate cataclysms exist in models and headlines, are decades away, are hardly unprecedented for East Africa, and can hardly be worse than these recurring locust cataclysms. But UN, EU, World Bank and eco-centered foundation money drives the agenda and pays Africa’s leaders and bureaucrats. So recurring real-world crises get short shrift.

When it comes to insect control, the driving force is aid money totally skewed to agro-ecology and its perverse focus on “food sovereignty,” and “traditional subsistence farming” with wood plows and oxen, “in harmony with nature,” free from Western seeds, fertilizers, tractors and, above all, pesticides.

The new moniker is clever, but the ideology and donor-driven attitudes are nothing new. Dr. Edwards documented them in his 1988 article. The FAO, USAID, USEPA, World Bank, Environmental Defense Fund and other organizations were pushing “all-natural, biological, integrated pest management” practices back then, too. They were totally opposed to the use of dieldrin and other insecticides that actually work. They keep families, communities, clinics and hospitals dependent on minimalist wind and solar electricity.

Just as today, their focus back then was on alleged, possible side effects from modern insecticides, which used properly by trained applicators are safe for people, livestock, wildlife and most non-target insects. The key is having the necessary staff, equipment and chemicals ahead of time. Under pressure by all these external forces, East Africa failed to do that – and now it is reaping the proverbial whirlwind.

The donor agencies and pressure groups’ attitude is akin to demanding that chemotherapy for cancer be banned, because the chemicals impair patient’s immune systems and cause hair to fall out. Saving their lives is inarguably far more important than these side effects – just as saving millions from starvation and associated diseases, and preventing total crop and habitat annihilation, is inarguably far more important than the temporary loss of some insects or even slight risks to cattle, wildlife or people from the sprays.

(An upcoming article will document who is behind the eco-manslaughter today, and who is funding them: from US, EU and UN organizations to their Swiss, Swedish, pseudo-African and other counterparts.)

Back in 1987, Dr. Edwards noted, Senegal requested and received the loan of four American DC-7 transport aircraft that could hold 18,400 pounds of cargo (8.4 metric tons). They sprayed two million acres and killed 95% of that country’s immature locusts. But elsewhere FAO anti-pesticide ideologies prevailed, and billions of locusts matured, flew off, mated and produced tens of billions of locusts the following year. They destroyed croplands, wildlife habitats, communities and lives in a dozen other African countries.

This year’s efforts are far too little, far too late. Kenya has eight small crop-spraying aircraft operating around the clock; the Locust Control consortium has four antiquated little planes. They’re apparently spraying fenitrothion (an effective locust killer), pyrethroids (somewhat effective) and malathion (also somewhat effective though it breaks down within a few hours under Africa’s hot, humid conditions).

But they didn’t get the hoppers. They waited until swarms the size of Manhattan were upon them. Against those countless billions of voracious locusts, ground-based equipment is useless. A dozen small crop dusters makes almost no difference. And traditional methods like banging on pots are a sick joke.

However, there could still be hope. A single Lockheed KC-130 Hercules tanker plane equipped with Modular Aerial Spray Systems can cover up to 150,000 acres a day. Each plane can carry 2,000 gallons of the most appropriate pesticide-water mixture. The benefits would be immediate and tremendous.

President Trump could order the Air Force to provide a KC-130 or two and enough fenitrothion, Lorsban or other effective insecticide for a few weeks of locust-eradication spraying. He could save millions of lives – and help change attitudes, policies and practices across Africa and the world.

The President could also order his US Agency for International Development (USAID), State Department and other agencies to end their funding of climate and agro-ecology programs, and start making the East Africa Desert Locust Control Organization the forward-thinking, effective operation it was meant to be.

He could have blunt discussions with the heads of EU nations about their agro-ecology, anti-pesticide and anti-biotechnology policies, funding practices and import restrictions toward Africa – which are an undeniable crime against humanity. Finally, he could direct the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service to review (and terminate) the tax-exempt status of organizations and foundations engaged in lethal, eco-imperialistic lies and pressure campaigns in Africa, Asia and South America.

The locust plagues, starvation and deaths from readily preventable diseases like malaria must end – now. The poorest people in these impoverished countries should not be the ones paying the price, too often with their lives. This president is one of the very few politicians who could make these changes happen.

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power-black death, and articles on environmental and human rights issues.

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74 thoughts on “The real reasons Africa has another locust plague

    • Great idea!

      So we’d end up with DDT resistant locusts, fewer bird predators (affected by the DDT) and more sick people.

      • If they could somehow “target” the mentally ill politicians, government employees and the stupid retarded populace with that ‘killing’ DDT, ……. now that would be a blessing for the poor people.

      • False, False, and False. The pests won’t become resistant in a single generation, and if the system is reformed, it won’t be needed again. Birds were never affected by minimal exposure to DDT; only when fed unrealistic amounts of it. And minimal exposure to DDT does not harm people. But starvation sure does. Right now the situation is at a real crisis level and emergency measures are required or millions of lives will be lost. Look at the response to COVID-19 – we are willing to risk collapsing the entire world economy to save thousands of lives, yet there are millions or maybe 10’s of millions at risk in Africa, so any real or imagined risks of aerial spraying of pesticides is something we must accept. It’s too late for weak and ineffective measures.

        • I grew up with DDT sprayed annually onto the white-washed walls. Real good stuff that was banned because the patent had run out and Dow wanted to market the replacement.

          The eco-loonies are nuts. My auntie took down the fire alarm because a 14 year old dog died of cancer, and you cannot imagine what they ate, year by year following the latest ‘health’ fashion.

          • Call me an old cynic Fran, but I noticed that the campaign against DDT started once the predominantly white nations had been cleared.

            Just every other eco scare, all the way up to eco farming, the result is always the huge loss of life in predominantly non white nations. I can no longer assume that this is coincidence and is a deliberate plan to reduce or exterminate non whites.

            And yes, I’m white.

      • False!
        Egg-shell thinning occurred in birds well before DDT existed.

        A large study by the US government concluded that there was no good reason to ban DDT.
        The US cabinet secretary who banned DDT later admitted publicly that he did so for political reasons.
        In my words, he pandered to eco-emotionalists at the cost of lives lost to malaria. He was scummy in my judgement.

      • The problem with DDT was not its toxicity, but the gay abandon in which it was used by Western Agriculture.

  1. May this message find its way from your lips directly to President Trump’s ears, Paul Driessen!

    • To help it along, I emailed the following two paragraphs from the article to my U.S. Senator along with a link to the article and a request to see if he could pass it along to the President’s office. Others here might consider doing something similar.

      “However, there could still be hope. A single Lockheed KC-130 Hercules tanker plane equipped with Modular Aerial Spray Systems can cover up to 150,000 acres a day. Each plane can carry 2,000 gallons of the most appropriate pesticide-water mixture. The benefits would be immediate and tremendous.”

      President Trump could order the Air Force to provide a KC-130 or two and enough fenitrothion, Lorsban or other effective insecticide for a few weeks of locust-eradication spraying. He could save millions of lives – and help change attitudes, policies and practices across Africa and the world.”

  2. Sadly most of Africa is in the “”Too hard basket”, and the Green movement appears to want to keep them there.

    Dare I say it, just like Papua New Guinea , many parts of the world were far better off when they were run by colonial governments .PNG did not want Independence, saying that they were not ready for it.

    VK5ELL MJE

    • Wood plows, why on Gods green earth we even allow these people that think a wood plow is good for anything. Was that problem solver by John Deer nearly two hundred years ago? I being to think environmentalist need to be striped naked and thrown out in the Canadian arboreal forest so they can learn some hard lessons. Even better release in the wild in the summer on Hudson Bay coast. Either case would certain enforced Darwin’s survival of the fittest again.

    • The anti-technology obstructionism of the Luddite environmentalists is both criminal and murderous!

    • Michael,
      You can thank Gough Whitlam for the disaster which became PNG.
      Whitlam was also responsible for many disasters in Australia, the least NOT being lowering tertiary education standards and being the architect of all Australian education being dictated by the Loony Left.
      A disastrous economy was a bout the least of Whitlam’s horrible legacies.

  3. The NO Agenda podcast was discussing this disaster over 2 weeks ago, I think. They discussed how 2 unusual storms led to the hatch. They sighted the media having TDS and Covid euphoria for not reporting the story 🙁

  4. The recent IOD Positive event bought above average rains to East Africa whilst Australia received below average. 1987, also a Positive IOD event coincided with the 1986-87 plague mentioned.

  5. yet another article claiming it is all Donald Trump’s fault without any evidence. But then if he thinks these are
    “shithole countries” is he really going to direct military aid to them?

    • As usual, the blind trolls see only what they are paid to see.
      A grand total of nobody said that it was all Trump’s fault.

      • Mark,
        Paul is explicitly blaming Trump’s lack of action for the loss of millions of lives:

        “President Trump could order the Air Force to provide a KC-130 or two and enough fenitrothion, Lorsban or other effective insecticide for a few weeks of locust-eradication spraying. He could save millions of lives – and help change attitudes, policies and practices across Africa and the world.”

        Which sounds like it is all Trump’s fault to me.

        • Can you tell me when it became the US President’s task to save African countries from themselves?
          What kind of imperialists are you?
          I can only imagine the type of headlines that you would be generating if the US Air Force had appeared – unrequested – and started spraying insecticide. You would have come over all “Silent Spring’ and blasted ‘Trump for hazarding African wildlife.’
          These are independent countries, their leaders have decided that a nice shiny new Mercedes is better to purchase than insecticide. Even in the middle of the locust plagues they will STILL decide that. It is not up to Trump to lecture them on how to run their countries.

        • Izaak, you ignoramus, he is suggesting a course of action that the President could take to help alleviate the problem – a problem that he clearly placed at the feet of the UN, the EU, and the various environmental groups.

    • Objection!

      It is accurate to say that many countries in Africa are very troubled, because of their governments.

      That does not mean that Donald Trump would not help people in them.

  6. Add Oklahoma to the NBS list of official area units – for clueless goober reporters who can’t fathom km^2.

  7. Interesting this is happening during a solar minimum year as was
    the infestation in ’87. Also the ongoing pandemic and the prior
    pandemic of ’09 in solar minimum… What the modern world
    tosses away in a day would make a huge improvement for a lot
    of those people.

  8. Something the size of a locust plague should be dead easy to spot from a satellite. Others have thought of the idea. link Is what we have here a failure to communicate?

    • As the article mentions, spraying before they develop wings is required, rather than spotting them flying via satellites as this is too little, too late.

      • From my link above:

        We now have the possibility to see the risk of a locust outbreak one to two months in advance, which helps us to better establish preventive control.

      • We need to get the greens to have lots of portable wind turbines. We could set those up in front of the swarm and have the blades chop them all up. Side benefit would be all the good fertilizer created… 🙂

    • There has been proposals that the eggs may be detectable by satellite remote sensing while still in the ground (I read about this during a grasshopper plague in Australia in the late 1990s); mapping concentrations of eggs could then allow targetting spraying at around the time the eggs are expected to hatch. I’m unsure if there are any locust targetted pesticides that feature lenghty persistence; if there are they could be sprayed over contrations of eggs, so that when they hatch, the locusts crawl straight into a CW ambush.
      Alternatively, depending on the area littered with eggs, the eggs could be attacked directly, say by injecting steam into affected soil when the fields are being tilled (provided that is not being done with wooden hand tools).
      I doubt though that much will happen as a resultof the present locust plague, if anything gang-green will double down and claim this is more proof of gullible warming. And it is ‘only’ Africa and Africans affected, so none of the outspoken social justice worriers actually care and the resulting famine will give them another excuse to endulge in some lucrative fund raising.

  9. President Trump could order the Air Force to provide a KC-130 or two and enough fenitrothion, Lorsban or other effective insecticide for a few weeks of locust-eradication spraying. He could save millions of lives – and help change attitudes, policies and practices across Africa and the world.

    Yes, that would be great, except that our government is bleeding money, especially with the coronavirus response. I was talking to my daughter on the phone this morning, and asked her if it wouldn’t be great, if she and I could sit down anonymously with our country’s budget and starting crossing out wasteful line items.

    • Sorry, Armageddon already happened in AD 70 to the ancient land of Israel and Palestine to the persecutors to end their age/world of being representatives of God’s Kingdom. There will not be any other. It’s pretty straight forward especially as the books of the Bible were written to the audience that first received them more than 1900 years ago to 100 years before then. The Romans (armies) surrounding the city indicated the “desolation is nigh.”

        • Armageddon is mentioned only once in the Bible – in the last book – Revelation 16:16 – which was written 25 years after AD 70.

          • Moderator, I know you don’t like to run threads which you feel may be pointless (you have stated especially so about religious ones which often lead to spurious arguments: which I understand; but I feel this one may help bring people hope instead of fear, finger pointing and scaremongering), but I would appreciate it if you would give this one special consideration before automatically not posting.

            According to the Christian Syriac tradition (the oldest known continual tradition from the first century AD) Revelation was written in the time of Emperor Nero.

            As well, the only, and original, source of the thought of it being written under Emperor Domitian (thus 95=/- AD is through the Bishop of Lyons Ireneus (circa 175 AD) who claims that when he was a child (about 60 years previously) he heard one (who had known Polycarp who was an associate of John the Revelator) speaking to his father that in the not too ancient time ago the book was written in the time of the emperor known as the tyran, Domitianou (Greek). That’s pretty much it.

            Emperor Nero was fully named at his birth: Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus (Dimitianou in Greek)
            Emperor Domitian was named as emperor: Caesar Domitianus Augustus Domitianikos in Greek)

            The mistake is in translating Ireneus’ Dimitianou as for Domitian rather than Nero’s original name. As Emperors of Rome were considered gods, it would have been foolish (even 90 years after Domitian’s rule) to name the emperor directly as the tyrant, so Ireneus records the name of the Emperor Nero as one only those “in the know” might understand, his birth name. Therefore, Ireneus and the man who would have spoken to his father (just like John the Revelator) would never have named the emperor responsible directly. (Note that John the Revelator uses a lot of code words for many of the events to happen).
            Other hints in the book of Revelation also show this was something to happen soon (not in our time). In fact the words “about to happen,” “come quickly,” etc… imply immediacy, not waiting almost 2000 years.
            Lastly, Revelation 11: 1-2 have John measuring the Temple and told not to measure the outer court. The Temple was destroyed in 70 AD (that is a historical fact), so if the book was written in AD 95+/- there was no Temple to measure.

            There is much more evidence to show this was written prior to the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple, but this is not the forum for such an endeavour. I would suggest anyone can find this information by simply searching the internet with simple keywords regarding the subject. I found this information through books (ancient and modern) in my possession and on the web all written and presented by conservative (not politically) Christians.

  10. KC’s are flying fuel stations, not AG sprayers. I doubt that their liquid handling systems are certified for water-based pesticides. Equally I’m not aware of any compatible/certified spray equipment.

    What I know is that Turbo Thrushes and AirTractor’s are fabulous modern nimble low maintenance designed for the purpose aircraft with 400 to 700 gallons of hopper capacity and ferrying ranges in excess of 500 miles.

    They can operate on improvised strips and have a long proven reputation of absolute efficiency against pests.

    A correctly coordinated fleet of those is an affordable and easy to deploy solution if only there’s a will.

    • C-130’s are amazing all purpose aircraft with a number of modular loadout configurations…they sprayed Agent Orange in Vietnam, and some of those modules likely still exist in storage somewhere…or can be reconstructed from standard plumbing…with a much greater capacity than any smaller aircraft.

      • There are a few aircraft that stand head and shoulders above all the others. The Herc is one such. link

        My other two favorites are the DC-3 and the Mosquito.

      • I agree that C130’s are fabulous carrying machines.

        My position is “general purpose” versus “purpose built”.

        No discussion that if available a Hercules will outspray a Thrush by orders of magnitude. But in precision, terrain hugging applications, the Thrush will outmaneuver a Hercules in any configuration.

        Further, being available in numbers, AG aircraft are somehow more readily affordable without lengthy official authorization & funding processes.

      • Well apart from the fact that Ranch Hand was flown by C123 aircraft I think it is safer to assume that any spray ‘modules’ that MIGHT still exist from Agent Orange days would be the sort of equipment no one would be willing to touch with a fully haz-suited barge pole.

        The actual hyperlink in the article likes to a unit that flies C130H (ie NOT KC130 tankers) using modular spray units. So yes, they exist and yes they can be used for spraying bugs.

        However I feel the author is greatly skimming over the full political requirements for these aircraft to be deployed to Africa. President Trump, for all his Orange Man Powers, has political limits. For all the ethical good intentions this author has behind him, I do feel there is a fair amount of ‘Why Doesn’t The Government Do Something?!’ behind all this.

  11. The East African desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria) swarm is not actually deliberately moving in a direction, but subject to the direction of wind at their flying height. In actual dynamic terms there is no leading edge of a particular group of locust because those among the swarm’s edge instinctively will turn back in towards the group’s center.

    In terms of distance covered: it depends on how high up the swarm is, wind speed at that elevation & the suitability at that time of their capability to fly for up to 10 hours. Furthermore, it is specifically the sexually immature locust which swarm for long distances.

    This locust is noted for flying lower to the ground more often when it is later in the afternoon & there, closer to the ground in terms of their ground speed, they can travel up to 4 meters per second. When flying at high elevation using a directional wind a swarm that does not stop to eat reportedly can cover up to 150 Km in a day.

    Original Post mentions human attempts to stop locust plagues by timely pesticide attack. To mitigate long distance swarming they should be sprayed before the cohort starts to sexually mature.

  12. We should try to develop efficient methods of harvesting the locusts whenever a plague occurs. Locusts are in the same category as Grasshoppers. They are very nutritious and an excellent source of protein. They are probably more nutritious than the food crops they destroy.

    • Locusts have long been eaten in Africa and the Middle East. They are explicitly not forbidden in Judaism and Islam. They have a high protein content and taste good. The problem now is that the widespread use of pesticides as a control makes them dangerous to eat, even if the pesticide programs don’t stop the plagues. We need some ingenious way of harvesting and processing the very large numbers when they plague. It clearly can’t be done effectively by individual small scale farmers.

  13. M<y friend in Kenya to me the other day that the Govn't recently announced a lock down in response to the Corona virus. I think t hey have bigger problems with locust.

  14. Why can’t they set traps and make flour out of these locusts? They say it is very nutritive and a delicacy.

  15. Time to go read the Huffington Post. If I’m going to get Driessen and his paranoia and blame game, might as well. And go ahead and answer whatever you want. Skeptics are as stupid and stubborn as AGW believers and I am not in the mood for more complete lack of thought. I will not read any answers you post.

  16. “President Trump could order the Air Force…”

    According to Constitution it would be possible if locusts declare war on USA.

    Otherwise, how much taxes do people in Somalia pay into IRS?

    But one could argue, Americans, as mostly non belivers, must pay their jizya tax for Somalian overlords.

  17. Interesting comments. But, does anyone know of any petition already started that will be given to the President to ask him to ask the East African governments if they’d like our direct help? Any good relief agencies with direct access to give food to the people (not the government agencies) addressing this problem with the now depleting food supply?

    Please let me (all of us) know that we make take action to help these people whose poverty before this disaster was worse than we will experience after our fake pandemic finally destroys a third of our wealth.

  18. It struck me, as it has done to other commentators, that locusts are a food source, and I’m sure that if the people won’t eat them (I wouldn’t) then various animals and birds would, especially chickens. I set out to design a windmill powered by a 2 stroke engine that would deflect the insects against a n electrically-charged grid, from where the dead ‘uns would drop to a sack for use as chicken feed. Might not help the crops much, but would eventually provide finger-lickin’ chicken as a substitute. Locusts could be a cash crop in their own right!

  19. The bigger problem is the the polio vaccine has been mutated and is creating polio! IF I was a conspiracy theorist, I would suspect that in the years to come, this existing polio mutation will be blamed on pesticides, that it is a mutation in line with the new mutated virus, that dust from the asteroid passing is causing it, that our sun is producing the deviant molecule, that the dark side of the Moon is the promotor, that it is all sham so disaster movies can be hyped for more profit, that this is where our lottery sales disappear to, and the locusts are to blame for eating the title to my house at 4187 Trails End Road, Rhinelander WI as shortly the land we purchased will show a clear transfer from the owners of the Trails End Grocery to the current owners of my house without the tiny snag of mentioning Prentice Randall and Kathleen E Sisco who built the house.

  20. Progressive solution: bring all these people to America and give them jobs. You know they’re thinking it. And you know they won’t lift a finger to help (I mean, come on, we’re in the middle of a pandemic here!).

  21. This same insanity applies all the way down the public health approach to aid for developing countries.

    In the Dominican Republic, where my wife and I served with a humanitarian organization, we found that one the the larger cities was having a dengue outbreak. The solution to such outbreaks is to spray the town for mosquito control — which knocks the outbreak down in a matter of days.

    But, the city had depended for years on equipment and chemicals from co-operating nearby tourist enclaves. With an ongoing outbreak, the enclaves (all-inclusive resorts) had their equipment in use full-time protecting themselves — nothing available to loan to the local health officials.

    Our organization managed to donate both vehicle-mounted sprayers and back-pack sprayers, plus appropriate WHO approved chemicals and get them into use within a week — stopping the outbreak and saving hundreds of lives in the process.

    With adequate equipment in hand, the city was then able to short-stop outbreaks over the next few years — all they needed to fund where the chemicals.

    The point is that huge, international aide organizations are often controlled by strategists — who focus on grand five year plans and ideological approaches (arguing endlessly about the details) and never get around to listening to the people on the ground at the front lines of the battle to find out what is really needed.

    My wife and I had our greatest successes — providing real help to real people — by asking the simple question “How can we help?”

    For the city in the Dominican Republic — the regional director of public health answered: “We need mosquito control equipment and chemicals.”

    This is a tropical country semajor health problems are mosquito-vectored diseases….yet no grand international group (or even their own national government) had supplied the basic tools for controlling mosquito populations.

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