Maputo: The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has appealed for nearly US$20million to meet the most basic needs of displaced people in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province.
Civilians and especially women and children bear the brunt of mass human rights violations that include brutal attacks and kidnapping.
Thousands of people have fled the Muidumbe district due to repeated attacks on several villages by Islamist insurgents since last week.
There have been horrifying reports of extreme brutality unleashed on civilians by non-state armed groups in the Muidumbe district. Schools, health centres, private houses and government infrastructures have also reportedly been targeted and destroyed.
Many civilians fleeing these attacks have found refuge in Mueda district, staying with host communities or family members. More people are expected to flee in anticipation of fresh attacks.
Violence by armed groups in the Cabo Delgado province has uprooted at least 355,000 people since 2017, according to UN estimates.
Many are seeking safety in parts of Cabo Delgado and Nampula and Niassa provinces. Many districts continue to be inaccessible because they are occupied by armed groups or remain at high risk of being attacked.
“We are concerned that civilians, including the elderly and people with disabilities, remain trapped in those areas,” the UNHCR said.
Hundreds are living on the beach in precarious conditions and clean drinking water is the most urgent need, according to a UNHCR assessment. People also face a lack of hygiene and sanitation as well as overcrowding.