Reading: The Locust Plague of East Africa

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An article titled ‘A plague of locusts has descended on East Africa. Climate change may be to blame’ by Madeleine Stone in the National Geographic that discusses the relationship between the 2019-20 desert locust swarms in East Africa and climate change. The article focuses on how rising sea surface temperatures, storms and cyclones, changing ocean circulation patterns caused by human activity may have triggered this trans-oceanic disaster and destruction of food supply. 

Students will learn about how climate change triggered the mass migration of the desert locusts over East Africa. They will also learn about the unseasonal cyclones and storms that led to unusual locust breeding that resulted in the widespread destruction of crops and disrupted the food chain in East Africa. 

Use this tool to help your students find answers to: 

  1. What are desert locusts?
  2. Is climate change responsible for the current locust outbreak in East Africa? Discuss.
  3. How is the locust plague causing food insecurity in some countries?

About the tool: 

Tool NameA plague of locusts has descended on East Africa. Climate change may be to blame
DisciplineEnvironmental Sciences, Social Sciences
Topic(s) in DisciplineLocust Plague, Desert Locust, Food Security, Species Migration, Agriculture 
Climate Topic Climate Change and Food Security; Climate and Agriculture 
Type of tool Reading
Grade LevelHigh School, Undergraduate 
LocationAfrica, East Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Yemen
Developed byMadeleine Stone
Hosted atNational Geographic
Computer SkillsBasic