"This is the first time seeing such a scary situation ever since I was born here. Nothing else can compare to such a serious threat," said farmer Fabian Sisamu.
"It is the worst situation ever; we are fearful of the future," his friend Ian Mubita adds, disheartened by what may lay ahead.
Fabian and Ian are both farmers in Kasaya, Namibia, a small farming outpost near Africa's fourth-largest river, the Zambezi. An outbreak of African Migratory and Red Locusts has been terrorizing communities in the country's northeastern region bordering Zambia and Botswana.
The locusts were first reported in February 2020 in small numbers, but there has since been a significant surge in swarms spotted in various parts of the region.
"At first, we thought they wouldn't pose such a serious threat to our livelihoods because there weren't as many as we are seeing now, but it seems we underestimated them," Fabian continued.
Locust swarms destroy all the vegetation in the area, reducing grasslands to nothing but sand and decimating people's livelihoods. FAO is working with the Southern African Development Community and the International Red Locust Control Organization for Central and Southern Africa to support the governments of the four affected countries -- Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe -- in controlling the locusts. The USD 0.5 million project is supporting ground and aerial surveillance, mapping and control operations, and there are ongoing efforts to raise more funds to support control efforts.