Armed conflict drives more than 732,000 people from their northern Mozambique homes in one of the world’s fastest-growing displacement crises, UN humanitarians said on Monday.
Of those uprooted, 30 percent of them fled more than once, according to UN figures. The displacements are generating dire humanitarian needs across the region, said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The number of people displaced due to attacks and violence in Cabo Delgado increased by nearly 650 percent in 2020 alone.
Humanitarian organizations are scaling up the response and have assisted more than 700,000 people in the first five months of 2021.
“The attack on Palma on March 24 and subsequent clashes across the district have forced nearly 70,000 people from their homes,” the humanitarian office said.
“Many had to walk for days, with nothing more than the clothes on their backs, arriving at their destinations hungry, exhausted, traumatized and injured.”
Many affected people are also trying to seek asylum in Tanzania. However, Tanzania authorities regularly return them to Mozambique, OCHA said. The UN Refugee Agency reported nearly 10,000 people repatriated after entering Tanzania, half of them since May alone.Repeated displacement and the destruction of livelihoods are exhausting families’ scarce resources, OCHA said. It leads to a severe hunger crisis on top of multiple health and protection emergencies.
The humanitarian response is falling short of needs due to insecurity, access challenges and underfunding, the office said.
Aid agencies in Mozambique have received about 11 percent of the 254 million U.S. dollars required to assist and protect 1.1 million people in the areas of Cabo Delgado, Niassa and Nampula, OCHA said.