THREE people died and 14 others were injured in two accidents reportedly caused by locusts making roads extremely slippery.
The Roads Authority (RA) has urged motorists to be cautious due to the outbreak of brown locusts reported in the //Kharas Region and Hardap Region.
On Friday, three people were killed in an accident 30 km north of Keetmanshoop on the B1.
The deceased were identified as Maria Hatzenberg, Natalia Ndatipo and Mbiseraije Karuumbe.
The driver of the minibus reportedly lost control over the vehicle due to the swarm of insects that made the road slippery. The other occupants sustained minor to serious injuries.
Last Sunday four people were injured when the minibus they were travelling in left the road and overturned outside Keetmanshoop. It is alleged that the driver lost control of the vehicle due to locusts on the road.
The RA appealed to all members of the public travelling to and from the //Kharas Region to adhere to the erected road signs, reduce speed and exercise extreme caution should they observe locusts on the road.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform said the country is experiencing the fourth wave of a brown locust infestation affecting grazing land in the //Kharas and Hardap Regions.
The Ministry’s acting executive director, Ndiyakupi Nghituwamata, said the first outbreak was reported in November 2021 at Karasburg East Constituency after receiving the onset rainfall of 50 to 80 mm.
“Thereafter, //Kharas and Hardap Regions have been the breeding zones for brown locusts. In 2021, MAWLR established monitoring and control teams in all 14 regions for effective surveillance, monitoring and control of the outbreaks of the plant pests,” she said.
The control team was deployed in November 2021 to Karasburg East Constituency in the //Kharas region to carry out surveillance, monitoring and control of the brown locusts.
Nghituwamata added that to date, the team surveyed a total area of 1.8 million in the //Kharas region of which 1.2 million hectares are sporadically infested by the brown locust.
In the Hardap Region, brown locusts were detected in Maltahöhe and Gibeon and a total of 490 hectares were surveyed of which 300 hectares are sporadically infested.
The locusts in both regions are all at developmental stages of their life cycles, from 1st instar, 2nd instar, 3rd instar and 5TH instar (hatching, hopping, flying stages).
Formed bands and swarms can fly up to 100 km per day depending on the wind velocity.
The RA said motorists should remain alert.
“These migratory insect species move in swarms over the road surface, causing potential safety issues for motorists.”
Motorists often find themselves caught unaware of the locust swarm invasion on the road, leaving them with little choice but to drive through the swarm, killing them in the process.