The United Nations has expressed worries over the precarious humanitarian situation of no fewer than 300,000 people forced to flee their homes in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province.
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) said the fleeing Mozambicans are left completely reliant on humanitarian assistance without food and livelihoods.
Antonella D’Aprile, WFP Representative for Mozambique, in a statement on Tuesday, said, “We are deeply concerned about the unfolding humanitarian situation in Cabo Delgado where conflict and violence have left people without access to food and livelihoods.
“The growing insecurity and poor infrastructure have meant that reaching out to people in need has become harder and now with COVID-19 the crisis becomes even more complex.”
Latest findings from the famine early warning system, FEWSNET, indicate that communities will continue to face “crisis” levels of food insecurity – IPC Phase 3 – into early 2021.
Any additional shocks could rapidly worsen the situation, especially for women and children, according to the UN agency.
According to the WFP, the situation is even more worrisome given that Cabo Delgado has the second highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the country, with more than half of children under the age of five chronically malnourished. In addition, with the province currently recording the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases in Mozambique, population displacements have the potential to accelerate the spread of coronavirus.
WFP said it urgently needs $4.7 million per month to assist the internally displaced in northern Mozambique, and that without additional funding it will be forced to reduce food rations as early as December.
Despite significant operational challenges, the UN agency, in collaboration with the Government, plans to reach 310,000 people each month in the provinces of Cabo Delgado, Nampula, and Niassa with food, vouchers and nutrition support.
Since 2017, Cabo Delgado had been experiencing attacks by non-State armed groups, leading to gradual displacement of communities. The attacks also resulted in loss of lives and severely damaged infrastructure, causing disruptions in the access to those most in need.
With the latest violence forcing thousands of refugees across the border, into neighbouring Tanzania, concerns over the regionalization of the conflict are deepening, added WFP.