Manna from heaven or bird flu?

Last week some villagers discovered a hill full of thousands of dead
birds. It is the hungry season, so people rejoiced at the manna from
heaven. Samples have been sent to South Africa for testing, but this
could be very bad news indeed.

Dozens of villagers used pails to collect the fork-tailed drongos,
which range through much of sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia, in
preparation for "feasting on mysterious manna from heaven," Wilfred
Lipita, the country's director of animal health, was quoted as saying in
news reports. A Malawi newspaper, The Nation, reported that one resident
was found with 700 of the birds and that one dead bird appeared to have
been banded in Israel. Officials warned residents not to eat the birds
because of the risk that the flu virus might be present. In most of the
human cases reported in Asia, the disease was contracted while preparing
fowl for slaughter or by handling infected birds. The flock of birds
died in Ntichisi Province, about 125 miles east of Malawi's
administrative capital, Lilongwe.

From an an
article NY Times
. A more in depth article.

And in case that news wasn't bad enough for you, 11 people were killed
at a church when lightning struck the building this weekend. link


My biologist friend Amanda (who runs Children in the Wilderness and whose husband works directly with wildlife saving groups in Malawi), says this was almost certainly a poisoning by hungry villagers. Perhaps you are thinking that poisoning the food you are going to eat is a bad idea. And you would be right.

5 Response to Manna from heaven or bird flu?

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Just in case you are getting these comments e-mailed to you- your link code is not right and it's not showing up as a link.
    Thanks for the creepy news, however.

  2. "This could be very bad news indeed."

    Maybe it isn't obvious-- but it could be incredibly good news as well. That isn't exactly a world view or a realistic view necessarily-- but there was this thing that happened a few thousand years ago where there were these hungry people with no food and guess what happened...

  3. Good news. The birds didn't die from H5N1 Avian Flu according to the South African Mail and Guardian online news paper:

    "Malawian veterinary experts on Thursday said a "heavy downpour of rains" caused thousands of migratory birds to drop dead, then to be eaten by locals, ruling out fears that bird flu may have reached the country."

  4. Mike says:

    This is strange, eh? I don't think rain killed the birds. That just doesn't happen - right? Pardon me if I don't trust Malawians veterinary experts. Maybe Jeff #1 is right?

    Malawi is a strange place. Last month someone died and a few weeks later she found herself in a field. She went home and her whole village was amazed. Our church pastor (who is American) was the one to drive her home. Apparently the entire village quickly converted to Christianity!

  5. Mike says:

    Here's a link to another resurrection story from the local paper.

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