UN raises alert for 780,000 people displaced in Mozambique, most due to violence in north

The United Nations’ refugee chief has raised a new alert over 780,000 displaced people in Mozambique

Gerald Imray
Thursday 07 March 2024 11:58 GMT
Mozambique Insurgency New Attacks
Mozambique Insurgency New Attacks (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The United Nations' refugee chief raised a new alert Thursday over 780,000 displaced people in Mozambique, the vast majority of them because of a seven-year insurgency by a jihadi group that has thrown the north of the country into turmoil.

Filippo Grandi, the U.N.'s high commissioner for refugees, was on a visit to Mozambique's northern Cabo Delgado province, where an Islamic State-affiliated group has waged attacks on communities since 2017 and where some 1.3 million people were forced to flee their homes to escape killings and beheadings.

Around 600,000 have returned home, many to shattered communities where houses, markets, churches, schools and health facilities have been destroyed.

Grandi's visit came amid an upsurge in new attacks by the Islamic State Mozambique group in Cabo Delgado since January following a period of relative calm in 2023. They have caused 80,000 new displacements, taking the total number of people forced to abandon their homes and villages and currently displaced in Mozambique to over three quarters of a million, according to the U.N.

Other aid agencies have estimated that the number of people forced to flee their villages because of violence in the north since January is higher and closer to 100,000.

Around 700,000 people are displaced in Mozambique because of the violence in Cabo Delgado. The other 80,000 are in the central Sofala province, which was hit hard by Cyclone Idai in 2019, the U.N. said.

Grandi made a call for “sustained involvement by the international community” to help Mozambique, with the U.N.'s humanitarian plan in the southern African country facing a funding gap.

The U.N. needs $400 million to help people in Mozambique this year alone and has received pledges for just 5% of that required money, said Robert Piper, the special adviser on internally displaced people to U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres.

"We are not starting from zero ... but clearly more resources are needed,” said Piper, who accompanied Grandi on the visit to Cabo Delgado.


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