The UN says it will need at least $82 million to feed and provide basic necessities to thousands of people displaced by an ongoing insurgency in Mozambique.
The World Food Programme, the UN’s specialised agency for food, said it is facing a task of providing basic food aid to more than 950,000 people, mostly in northern Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado Province.
WFP spokesperson Tomson Phiri said the agency expects numbers to soar as militants continue targeting villages.
“Families and individuals have had to abandon their belongings and livelihoods and flee for safety,” he said at press conference streamed live on Tuesday evening.
The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) said it was currently caring for more than 200 displaced children whose parents could not be found.
“We are facing a likely long-lasting humanitarian crisis,” Manuel Fontaine, Unicef’s director of emergencies, told the same briefing in Geneva.
Tens of thousands more are still displaced within Palma district in Cabo Delgado and others are on the move, the UN’s humanitarian coordination agency, OCHA, said on Monday.
The UN appeal happens at a time when the southern African country’s government is also seeking support to help its citizens.
On Monday, Mozambique government said it needs at least $ 78.9 million (Meticais 7 billion) for a plan to manage displaced people from Cabo Delgado attacks.
Luísa Meque, the head of the National Institute of Disasters Management (INGD), told journalists during a meeting with government officials and partners in Cabo Delgado’s capital Pemba, that the money would help to improve conditions for food, shelter and education.
Pemba has been the main destination for populations fleeing the armed attacks since 2017. Currently, it hosts almost twice its capacity.
Islamic State-linked militants launched attacks on the northeastern coastal town of Palma on March 24, ransacked buildings and beheaded civilians. Thousands of people fled into the surrounding forest. The attack has seen a surge in the number of refugees fleeing the violence in the area.
Known locally as Al-Shabaab – but with no relation to the Somali group of the same name – the militants in Cabo Delgado have launched a series of brazen raids on towns and villages in an apparent bid to establish an Islamic caliphate.
It is not clear how many civilians were killed, but according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) violence has killed over 2,600 people, at least half of them civilians, and displaced close to 700,000.
The March attack forced close to 10,000 people to flee, the UNHRC adds.
The government has already secured $6.7 million (Meticais 600 million) for the implementation of a plan, which integrates several strategic actions to assist the affected people, Ms Meque said.