This video of a locust invasion in Madagascar will give you nightmares

August 29, 2014
The Madagascan capital Antananarivo was invaded by billions of locusts on Thursday, August 28. The country has been plagued by locusts for thee years in a row. (Sylvain Lathuy via YouTube)

Are you okay? Have you cowered under your desk in terror yet? Here's a GIF version, in case you want to torment your Twitter followers:

loucusts

The images were captured in Madagascar's capital Antananarivo on Thursday, where billions of locusts descended upon the city as part of an outbreak the size of Japan, Agence France Presse reported.

Locust swarms are common in Madagascar but have grown uncontrollable in recent years -- often with terrible consequences. The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated the ongoing locust plague in the African nation, which began April 2012, threatens the livelihoods of 13 million people, with 9 million of them earning a living on agriculture.

"Locust infestations, if untreated, could wipe out food crops and livestock grazing lands – and with it a family’s ability to provide for itself," according to FAO. The country and FAO launched a three-year emergency program in 2013 to beat back the locust population and protect the agriculture industry from swarms.

The head of the FAO's locust campaign in the country said Thursday's swarm is highly unusual for the city, a result of exceptionally high temperatures and winds blowing toward the capital, Voice of America reported.

While the prospect of billions of bugs taking over a city is the stuff of nightmares, the pedestrians in the video above appeared to be quite unfazed, just going about their day, as if to say: "Oh, what, these locusts? Just hand me an umbrella, I got to get to the bank."

A 13-year-old boy talked to AFP as he was "enthusiastically scooping handfuls of insects into a plastic bag," telling the news organization that he was collecting them to feed the chickens.  "If the chickens don't die, we'll eat them," Anthoni Razafimahatratra told AFP.

Well, kid, I hope you have a lot of chickens. Because you've got a lot of feed on your hands:


A swarm of locusts invades the center of Madagascar capitol Antananarivo on Aug. 28. (AFP/Rijasolorijasolo/Getty Images)
Elahe Izadi is a general assignment national reporter for The Washington Post.
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Adam Taylor · August 29, 2014