High Commission of the Republic of Mozambique

Funding crisis hits life saving assistance in northern Mozambique

London, 16 Jun (AIM) – A lack of funds is hampering the efforts of aid agencies to provide life saving assistance and protection to 1.1 million people in the northern Mozambican provinces of Cabo Delgado, Niassa and Nampula, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

In a report published on Tuesday, OCHA points out that aid agencies have only received 22.3 million dollars in funding which is just nine per cent of the 254 million dollars needed to respond to the violent conflict which has driven a massive displacement of people from their homes. It calculates that the number of people displaced due to terrorist attacks in Cabo Delgado increased from 172,000 in April 2020 to over 732,000 by the end of April 2021.

The United Nations agency laments that at least thirty per cent of those displaced have had to flee multiple times and warns that the repeated displacement and the destruction of livelihoods is “exhausting families' scarce resources, leading to a severe hunger crisis amidst multiple health and protection emergencies”. It adds that “most people were left with no more than the clothes on their backs, and arrived at their destinations exhausted, traumatised, injured and in need of urgent medical attention and psychosocial support”.

OCHA warns that, as a result of the conflict, “more than 900,000 people are severely food insecure and displaced people and host communities are also in urgent need of shelter, protection and other services. Hunger is not only increasing in rural zones but also in urban centres, including Cabo Delgado’s capital, Pemba, which hosts the highest number of displaced people in the province (157,000) and where 40 per cent of people are facing high acute food insecurity”.

It adds that “the massive displacement is also straining meagre resources of host communities, as more than 80 per cent of people who fled the conflict are staying with family and friends”.

OCHA notes the findings of Save the Children that at least 51 children, most of them girls, were abducted by the terrorists over the past twelve months. It adds that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has found that women and girls have been “abducted, forced into marriage, and subjected to sexual violence”, while children are also being forcibly recruited into armed groups.

OCHA concludes that “while further funding is under discussion, more is needed immediately to ensure that humanitarian organisations can save lives and alleviate suffering. Without additional funding, humanitarian partners will be forced to stop essential programmes, and hundreds of thousands of people will not receive the assistance they need to survive”.

Parts of Cabo Delgado have been under attack from islamist terrorists since October 2017, forcing people from their homes and destroying livelihoods. It is estimated that 350,000 children have been displaced, leaving them hungry and without education.