Surviving displacement thanks to neighbors

News and Press Release
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By Kristine Dandanell Garn

Chiaquelane camp, GAZA, March 2013 - Lidia is 22 years and arrived to Chiaquelane camp from the flooded town of Lionde in Gaza Province at the end of January. Her daughter Lucia is only 3 months old and is a little moody today.

‘It is because of the vaccines’, Lidia explains. She took Lucia to the local health center near the camp today for her vaccine shots and to get her weighed. The nurse in the health center carefully plotted 6.12 kg on the growth chart in her health card. Lucia is growing well, much to Lidia’s relief and delight, who smiles and lets her baby suckle.

Good news has not been too forthcoming lately for Lidia and Lucia. Less than two months ago, Lidia and Lucia were running for their lives. It was early in the morning late January when Lidia had to grab her baby and, together with her neighbors, escape the violent waters that gushed through their home. Her mother stayed valiantly behind on the roof of their house, guarding their belonging. For a family of extremely limited means, any chance they had of salvaging any of their possessions was a chance they could not afford to miss, sometimes at high risk to their own life and wellbeing.

Lidia remembers that the bus driver charged 150 meticals, or roughly 5 dollars, per person and an additional fee for luggage, a huge sum for most people here. So Lidia had to leave everything she had behind in Lionde to get on the bus for Chiaquelane. When she arrived at the camp, she stayed close to her neighbors, who had travelled with her. They eventually managed to get tents for themselves, but no food. Today, whatever they have, they share. Together they feel more protected and always help one another out. In times of emergency such as these, your neighbor can be your best friend. And today is no exception. One of the women is cooking a thick broth for all the families from the same neighborhood in Lionde, who have tents pitched close to one another. Community life continues for Lidia and Lucia, interrupted and imperfect, but with much resilience and neighborly solidarity, they are managing.

UNICEF provided support to set up routine health care services in the temporary accommodation camps including Chiaquelane, with dedicated support to nutrition services, malaria control and treatment of other infectious diseases.

For more information, please contact:

Patricia Nakell, UNICEF Mozambique
Tel: +258 82 312 1820; Email:

Gabriel Pereira, UNICEF Mozambique, tel. (+258) 21 481 100;