Attacks by armed groups in northern Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province have forced more than 500,000 people to flee their homes, while nearly half of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) are children, a UN agency said Monday.

While over 90% of the IDPs are living with host families, insecurity in November “remained prevalent in some districts of Cabo Delgado province, with some population movement triggered by insecurity and restricted access to northern districts,” said UNICEF.

“According to ACLED, during November 2020, over 201 violence events occurred and about 872 fatalities from these events were reported,” UNICEF said in its report, referring to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, a real-time data collection, analysis and crisis mapping project.

Due to the situation, UNICEF on Nov. 28 declared a Level 2 emergency for the Cabo Delgado crisis which affected Cabo Delgado as well as neighboring provinces, it said in the report.

“With the level 2 designation, the crisis receives prioritized corporate-wide support for the scale-up of [an] emergency response,” it added.

Funding gap

UNICEF said that for 2020, it has been appealing for US$11.1 million in order to “sustain the provision of life-saving services for women and children in northern Mozambique affected by the ongoing conflict,” but as of Nov. 30, it had received a total of only US$9 million, creating a funding gap of 41% for its 2020 Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) appeal.

“Without sufficient funding, over 100,000 people will not have access to safe water, adequate sanitation, and over 33,000 children will not have access to education, 27,000 pregnant and lactating women will not benefit from IYCF [infant and young child feeding] messages,” it said.

“These gaps are significant heading into 2021, where the HAC 2021 for Mozambique will require US$52.8 million for the entire country, of which over US$30 million is for the Cabo Delgado Emergency,” it warned.

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