TRT: 1 mins 49s
SOURCE: UNTV CH
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
DATELINE: 11 November 2022 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
Mozambique: life-saving aid for one million people could be cut without funding boost
One million desperately vulnerable people in northern Mozambique could see their life-saving support cut, without additional funding to help them, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said on Friday.
“WFP is delivering food assistance to one million people affected by the conflict in northern Mozambique, but unfortunately, we have a very serious funding shortage,” said WFP Regional Communications Officer for Southern Africa, Antonella d’Aprile. “WFP will be forced to suspend life-saving assistance to one million people by February if we don’t receive funds now.”
The warning comes amid intensifying extremist violence in Cabo Delgado, which is the most food-insecure province of the south African nation, where 1.15 million people already face “crisis” or “emergency” hunger levels.
Despite the widespread violence, WFP has been providing emergency assistance to one million displaced people - including in previously inaccessible areas such as Macomia, Muidumbe, Nangade, Palma, and Quissanga. But it has had no option but to cut rations in recent months.
“The attacks started five years ago in Cabo Delgado, which is the most food-insecure, malnourished and extremely poor province in Mozambique,” Ms. d’Aprile explained, in reference to the “unprecedented” targeting of districts close to the provincial capital, Pemba and in neighbouring Nampula province.
“People are leaving their villages, leaving absolutely everything behind,” the WFP officer continued, adding that the number of displaced people in the north has quadrupled to nearly one million people in the last two years.
Humanitarians are also worried that the funding shortage will likely coincide with the peak of the lean season. “This means that food is more expensive because farmers are waiting for their harvest,” according to WFP’s Ms. D’Aprile, who also noted that February tends to be when Mozambique is ravaged by devastating cyclones. “Without WFP food assistance, one million vulnerable, uprooted people will be on the verge of hunger in Mozambique,” she stressed.
Essential humanitarian action also includes working to scale up resilience-building activities among vulnerable communities. WFP does this by supporting 44,000 people in recovering land and production in Cabo Delgado. The UN agency also provides nutrition supplements to prevent and treat malnutrition among children under the age of five, in addition to pregnant and nursing women.
In most remote areas of the north, the WFP-run UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) is the only air service available for aid workers. In December 2020, following escalation of violence and the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency opened an airbridge connecting inaccessible areas in the north. Since then, UNHAS has transported more than 10,000 humanitarian personnel and 70,000 kilogrammes of humanitarian cargo.
All of these activities are now at risk because of a lack of funding, WFP has stressed. It needs $51 million to continue delivering life-saving assistance to one million people and provide much-needed services.
“WFP will strive to maintain life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable groups - such as those most undernourished, malnourished children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers - but there are many whom we might not be able to assist, unless additional funding is received urgently,” Ms. d’Aprile told journalists.