Rapid Response Plan: Cabo Delgado Province Mozambique, May - December 2020

Originally published


Overview of the Crisis

One year on from Tropical Cyclone Kenneth’s landfall in April 2019, the humanitarian situation in Cabo Delgado province of Mozambique has deteriorated due to consecutive climatic shocks, insecurity and violence, leading to significant displacement, disruption of livelihoods and lack of access to basic services. Cabo Delgado— home to over 2.2 million people—has been hit by a wave of violence since October 2017, which escalated significantly since January 2020. Over 300 violent incidents have been recorded to date, of which 71 were reported from January to March 2020, including attacks on villages by non-state armed actors and clashes between security forces and armed groups. According to media, more than over 500 civilians have been killed since October 2017, along with an estimated 200 security forces members and 250 alleged armed actors. Moreover, killings, beheadings, abductions and kidnappings of civilians (including girls and women), possible forced recruitment of children into armed groups, and burning and looting of public and private properties and infrastructure have been reported. Attacks by non-state armed groups have destroyed more than 107 schools (including a teacher training centre) so far, affecting more than 56,000 children and almost 1,100 teachers.

Over the past six months, attacks have increased in scale and scope, with Palma, Mocimboa da Praia, Nangade, Muidumbe, Macomia and Quissanga districts hardest-hit.

Displacement has risen rapidly as violence has escalated, with 211,485 people now estimated to be internally displaced in Cabo Delgado, according to IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM)’s data. The majority of internally displaced people (IDP) are children, followed by women. Food and shelter/non-food items (NFIs) and livelihood remain the most-needed assistance for IDPs, according to an assessment conducted in May 2020. While there are settlements and accommodation centres, the majority of IDPs are being hosted by families and relatives.

While violence was previously confined to smaller villages, attacks on district capitals have increased in 2020, leading to larger displacement flows. It is estimated that violence, especially around Mocimboa da Praia and Quissanga, has caused the displacement of over 50,000 people between March and May 2020. On 23 and 25 March 2020 respectively, armed actors temporarily occupied the towns of Mocimboa da Praia Muidumbe and Quissanga, forcibly displacing over 24,000 people, and in a recent wave of displacement, over 10,149 IDPs fleeing from Quissanga district, including 3,620 children, temporarily sought accommodation in five collective centres in Metuge. Similarly, on 28 May 2020, armed actors attacked and temporarily occupied the town of Macomia, causing additional displacements to other districts as the town hosted 30,000 IDPs.3 Areas hosting the largest number of displaced people include district capitals such as Montepuez, Chiuri, Mueda, and Pemba city, and coastal districts and islands, such as Ibo, Macomia, Mocimba da Praia, Quissanga, Muidumbe and Matemo. More than 13,800 IDPs have reached Cabo Delgado’s provincial capital, Pemba, in search of safety and humanitarian assistance.

The violence and insecurity have compounded the situation of people impacted by climatic shocks, including Cyclone Kenneth in April 2019 and flooding in December 2019 and January 2020, forcing many people to cope with a ‘double crisis’. Cyclone Kenneth—the strongest cyclone to ever hit the African continent—left 374,000 people in need, of whom an estimated 200,000 are still living in destroyed, damaged homes or makeshift shelters, and 6,600 are still living in five resettlement sites in Cabo Delgado and Nampula provinces, in urgent need of assistance and protection. In addition, from October 2019 to February 2020, heavy rains, strong winds and floods affected more than 14,970 people in Cabo Delgado, according to the National Disaster Management Institute (Instituto Nacional de Gestão de Calamidades, INGC) and the National Institute of Meteorology (Instituto Nacional de Meteorologia, INAM). As a result, many damages to public infrastructures were reported, most notably the collapse of various bridges which left up to one million people directly and indirectly isolated from basic services and supplies as well as humanitarian assistance.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit