UN seeks funds to ease hunger in Mozambique as conflict deepens

The World Food Programme said Tuesday it needed US$82 million to provide life-saving assistance to hundreds of thousands of people facing severe hunger in violence-ravaged northern Mozambique.

The UN agency said more than 950,000 people were now facing severe hunger, and warned that growing attacks by jihadists in the region were adding to the already desperate situation.

Mozambique’s north has been ravaged by an escalating Islamist insurgency since 2017, including horrific attacks in Palma last month that killed dozens and displaced tens of thousands.

“In the wake of the heinous attacks in Palma town, families and individuals have had to abandon their belongings and livelihoods and flee for safety,” WFP spokesman Tomson Phiri told reporters in Geneva.

“Many have scattered into neighbouring Mueda, Pemba and Montepuez districts as well as onto the small islands dotted along the Cabo Delgado coastline, adding to an already desperate situation in northern Mozambique,” he said.

Phiri said his colleagues on the ground in Mozambique had spoken with families fleeing the insurgents, saying “their stories illustrate horrific violence and deepening despair.”

WFP, he said, aimed to assist 750,000 internally displaced people and vulnerable members of the host communities across Cabo Delgado, Nampula, Niassa and Zambezia provinces.

The agency was currently organising emergency food distributions for families who have fled the violence in Palma, he said, that it would aim to assist 50,000 people displaced from the town.