The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned of a “large and likely long-lasting” humanitarian crisis in the conflict ridden Cabo Delgado province of Mozambique.
Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF’s Director of Emergency Programmes, who has been in Cabo Delgado for the past few days said: “I have been in Cabo Delgado now for three or four days, meeting people. I was in Montepuez, here in Pemba, and some other locations meeting internally displaced people (IDPs), meeting families, and the people who were all trying to help, including host families in many places. I also met with the authorities and will also meet with the authorities in Maputo.
“What we are seeing here at the moment – what I am seeing here, after years of experience in dealing with humanitarian situations – is that we are facing both a large and likely long-lasting humanitarian situation. One-third of the population is displaced right now. It is really striking to see in some towns that the population has doubled, or in some cases tripled. So, you can imagine how heavy it is for populations in towns and villages that are already poor and don’t have a lot to offer.
“We have very concerning numbers on malnutrition that is starting to come through from SMART surveys that have been done. Particularly among IDP populations in host communities where we have up to 3.8 per cent severe acute malnutrition prevalence, and a general global acute malnutrition (GAM) rate of almost 13 per cent, which is quite high, and it’s going to get worse, obviously.”