Exterior wide shot, UN building to rear and UN flag in foreground, a sunny day.
UNICEF warns of a “very, very serious protection crisis in Mozambique” where growing attacks by jihadists are adding to an already desperate situation
The situation of families and individuals who have abandoned their belongings and livelihoods in northern Mozambique after the heinous attacks end of March in the town of Palma in Cabo Delgado province remains desperate.
“We are facing both a large and likely long-lasting humanitarian situation”, said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF’s Director of Emergencies speaking remotely from Mozambique to journalists at the United Nations. “One third of the population is displaced right now, really striking to see in some towns, population has doubled, in some cases tripled. And so, you imagine, how heavy it is for populations and towns and villages that are already poor.”
Mozambique's north has been ravaged by an escalating Islamist insurgency since 2017, including the heinous attacks in Palma last month that killed dozens and displaced tens of thousands.
“These are constant stories: stories of people being kidnapped, stories of gender-based violence, horrific stories of all of these people working for days and days, kids arriving with their feet swollen and injured and having to be taken care of”, Manuel Fontaine said. “So, it is a very, very serious protection crisis.”
UNICEF has so far identified 220,000 children but assumes that the number is much higher. The Child Agency’s 2021 funding appeal for all Mozambique is USD 52,8 million dollars out of which USD 30 million are for Capo Delgado. Currently only 37 % funded are funded.
“We need to get a million dollars immediately in order to make sure that we don’t have a stockout of the ready-to-use therapeutic food that save children for example and then the cholera response really needs more money now”, said UNICEF’s spokesperson Marixie Mercado. “The numbers are much down in Cabo Delgado because of a huge effort by the government and UN agencies, including UNICEF and WHO, but there is a very high risk of another outbreak in these conditions, and it is already spreading to neighboring provinces. So that is critical.”
With difficult access to the population, and a severe malnutrition prevalence, the World Food Programme (WFP) said today, it needed USD 82 million to provide life-saving assistance to hundreds of thousands of people facing severe hunger in violence-ravaged northern Mozambique.
“As the security situation continues to deteriorate, more than 950,000 people in the north of Mozambique are now facing severe hunger”, said WFP’s spokesperson Tomson Phiri. “WFP plans to assist approximately 750,000 internally displaced people and vulnerable members of the hosting communities in Cabo Delgado as well as in the neighboring provinces of Nampula, Niassa and Zambezia.”
Phiri said that WFP aims to assist 50,000 people displaced from the town. “WFP is organizing emergency food distribution for families who have fled the violence in Palma and is providing high-energy biscuits, as well as ready-to-eat immediate response rations that are comprised of rice, vegetable oil, canned food such as sardines and beans, biscuits and water enough to last them two weeks.”