Violence and conflict in northern Mozambique continued to drive massive displacement, increasing the need for humanitarian assistance in the region. The number of people internally displaced due to attacks and insecurity increased from 668,000 in December 2020 to more than 732,200 people by April 2021. The attack on Palma on 24 March and following clashes across the district forced over 31,000 people to leave their homes and shelters in April alone. Many of them were seeking refuge in Palma after fleeing the conflict in other parts of Cabo Delgado.
Repeated displacement and the consequent destruction of livelihoods exhausted families’ already scarce resources, increasing the adoption of negative coping mechanisms, including child marriage. Women and children were at heightened risk of gender-based violence, sexual exploitation and abuse, as families were separated as they fled violence. More than 380 unaccompanied children arrived from Palma to other districts of Cabo Delgado in April.
More than 900,000 people were severely food insecure and displaced people were in urgent need of shelter, protection and other services. Many people fled the attacks and clashes in Palma with nothing more than the clothes on their backs and arrived into surrounding areas in urgent need of assistance and protection.
People in Cabo Delgado faced multiple health emergencies, increasing pressure on the health system. Nearly 283,000 cases of malaria and around 30 deaths were reported between January and April 2021, over 100,000 cases more than during the same period in 2020. Febrile syndrome affected over 57,000 people, acute watery diarrhoea more than 18,000 and dysentery nearly 4,900 people. At least 8 cases of acute flaccid paralysis and 85 cases of plague were reported from January to April, while cholera decreased in April compared to previous months.
Insecurity in Cabo Delgado continued to restrict humanitarian access in April, especially in Palma District. Civilians faced constraints to leave conflict-affected Palma District, while access to the area for humanitarian actors was curtailed through the imposition of additional administrative processes for air movements and a ban on maritime traffic north of Pemba. Humanitarians were, however, able to assist people fleeing Palma in the areas where they arrived. This included an inter-agency mission to Mueda and Negomano in the third week of April, as well as response by static partners in Montepuez and Pemba.
April also saw the first inter-agency humanitarian mission to Macomia in nearly one year.
Under-funding compounded other challenges for the humanitarian response. By the end of April, humanitarians had received only US$12.5 million—about 5 per cent—of the $254 million required to provide life-saving assistance and protection.
Despite the obstacles, humanitarian agencies were able to assist more than 710,000 people in northern Mozambique in the first four months of 2021: at least 570,000 people received food assistance; almost 269,000 received health services; nearly 83,000 people received emergency shelter and/or critical household items; nearly 50,000 people gained access to safe water; and 40,000 displaced children had access to education. Prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA) remained a top priority with training undertaken for affected communities, displaced people and service providers.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.