UNICEF Mozambique Situation Update No. 1 (Cabo Delgado): 23 March - 4 April 2021

Situation Report
Originally published



  • The situation in Cabo Delgado following attacks in Palma District is still extremely volatile. Communications are limited as fighting continues.

  • Tens of thousands of people are on the move to safer locations, of whom at least 45 percent are children.

  • Within the population arriving at various sites, there are 97 unaccompanied children. UNICEF has provided assistance to those arriving to Pemba to move children to a safe shelter with appropriate mental health, medical support, and other basic necessities.

  • UNICEF is providing safe water, latrines and bathing facilities, hygiene kits, nutrition support, and child protection support in a transit center in Pemba.

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

The security situation in Cabo Delgado deteriorated significantly after attacks on Palma town and surrounding areas. More than a week after the initial attacks, fighting continues and populations continue to move looking for safe areas to shelter. As of 3 April, over 10,400 people have arrived in Montepuez, Mueda, Nangade and Pemba Districts. UNICEF is extremely concerned that 45 percent of those displaced are children, and a reported 100 have been been separated from their families; this number is likely to increase as more people and children continue to arrive. While some of the displaced are staying with relatives or in host families, others are in transit sites. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs notes that before the attacks in late March, over 100,000 people were living in Palma District including a large number of IDPs.

The displaced population moved to neighbouring districts such as Nangade, Mueda, Montepuez, Pemba and Nampula province mainly by bus, but also traveling by boat, foot and air (evacuation flights). About 44% of the IDPs registered so far moved to Mueda, 20% to Pemba and main needs reported are food, shelter and key non-food items. On 31 March over 1,000 people displaced arrived in Pemba by ship but the disembarking process followed on 1 April due to strict security checks. Transit centres are open in Pemba to receive displaced without families nearby who can provide support. Support in other locations is scaling up as movement information is received. There are concerns that security in the area may further deteriorate in the coming days and weeks. Thus while activities continue, UNICEF and partners are on high alert. UNICEF, with other agencies, is scaling up assistance to address the increasing needs and dynamic environment. Coordination is also increasing to ensure that duplication is minimized, gaps are addressed, and scale up to meet the increasing need is prioritized by cluster members.