Mozambique: Conflict continues to worsen – UN report

The armed conflict in Cabo Delgado, northern Mozambique, worsens. The United Nations warns in the latest situation report, which takes stock of the first half of the year and warns of critical underfunding.

“The conflict continued to escalate in the first half of 2021, driving widespread displacement and a rapidly developing humanitarian crisis,” the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warns in a summary published on Tuesday.  

The number of people internally displaced by the violence “has increased from 172,000 in April 2020 to more than 732,000 people by the end of April 2021” – a third of whom have had to flee where they were more than once.

Following the attack on Palma on 24 March, and “after clashes across the district”, the total number of displaced people from that area alone amounts to 68,000 people.

Fleeing people heard by Lusa and other testimonies released by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) report that the situation in Palma remains unstable, with shootings and houses set on fire.

In the rest of the region, hunger is the main consequence in the day-to-day lives of families.

“More than 900,000 people are under severe food insecurity, and host communities are also in urgent need of shelter, protection and other services,” the document reads.

Malaria cases were well above usual levels in 2020, it adds.

“A severe lack of funding is hampering the humanitarian response,” the UN warns. 

UN agencies in Mozambique “have received only US$22.3 million (€18 million), about 9% of the US$254 million (€209 million) needed to provide assistance, protection and save lives to 1.1 million people in Cabo Delgado, Niassa and Nampula,” it concludes.

Armed groups have been terrorising the province since 2017, with some attacks claimed by the ‘jihadist’ group Islamic State.