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Humanitarian crisis worsens in northern Mozambique as thousands flee violence

Briefing notes

Humanitarian crisis worsens in northern Mozambique as thousands flee violence

1 March 2024
UNHCR staff and refugees sit together under a tree

UNHCR staff carry out a needs assessment with some of those arriving to Namapa, in Nampula province, after fleeing recent attacks by non-state armed groups in Cabo Delgado.

GENEVA – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is deeply concerned about the escalating humanitarian crisis in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, as the recent surge in violence by non-state armed groups continues to force thousands of people to flee towards southern districts in search of safety.

Since the latest outbreak of violence and attacks on civilians at the beginning of February, more than 70,000 people have been forcibly displaced across the districts of Macomia, Chiure, Mecufi, Mocimboa da Praia, and Muidumbe. In Chiure district alone, over 56,000 people have been affected. More than 33,000 have crossed into Nampula Province.

Nearly 90 per cent of those displaced are women, many of them pregnant, people with disabilities, and the elderly. More than half of the newly displaced are children. This underscores the urgent need for targeted assistance and protection measures to address the needs of vulnerable populations.

The violence has also been marked by extensive destruction of residential areas and religious and community facilities such as schools and health centres. This rampant destruction has further exacerbated the already dire humanitarian situation in Mozambique, where over 709,000 people remain internally displaced due to violence perpetrated by non-state armed groups and the impact of the climate crisis.

The affected families have sought refuge in displacement sites and host communities in Nampula Province, which also hosts approximately 8,000 refugees and asylum-seekers in the Maratane Refugee Settlement. UNHCR and other partners are providing core relief items, including blankets, sleeping mats, mosquito nets, jerrycans, buckets, solar lamps, kitchen sets and plastic sheets to the newly displaced people, and will also screen and register people with specific needs for support and assistance. Additional interventions are being planned and discussed with local authorities in the areas of water and sanitation, general protection, shelter, health/nutrition, and food security, however lack of funding is hampering the response.

UNHCR, which has had a presence in Mozambique since the 1980s, reiterates its commitment to continue to work closely with local authorities, humanitarian partners, and host communities to address the urgent needs of displaced people, providing protection, shelter and essential assistance to those affected by the conflict in Cabo Delgado. UNHCR’s total requirement in Mozambique is $49 million which is currently only 17 per cent funded.

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