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UNHCR – UNHCR boosts response as thousands flee attacks in northern Mozambique




UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, continues to work around the clock to help thousands of people achieve security in Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado. A recent attack by insurgents in the coastal city of Palma has forced at least 11,000 people, with thousands more reported to be trapped within the area.

Civilians have arrived in Pemba, Nangade, Mueda and Montepuez on foot, by road and by boat since March 24 as a result of the attack. Humanitarian flights that helped evacuate hundreds initially have now been suspended pending further clearance by authorities.

UNHCR teams in Pemba have received disturbing reports from displaced populations that more than 1,000 people fleeing Mozambique trying to enter Tanzania were not allowed to cross the border to seek asylum. We are following these reports in Tanzania. UNHCR calls on Mozambique’s neighbors to provide access to the territory and asylum procedures for those fleeing violence and seeking protection.

Three years of unrest in the north of the country have displaced nearly 700,000 within Mozambique the most over the past year. UNHCR officials have warned that the number could cross the million mark by June this year if the ongoing violence does not stop.

UNHCR is setting up measures to get more arrivals in the coming days. Our staff is reaching areas outside Pemba to help newly relocated people.

Most of the newcomers are women and children with few items, most show signs of severe trauma after the atrocities they saw and worried about those relatives they were left behind. The sudden and deadly nature of the attacks has caused families to be torn apart, many of them still unable to leave. Among the vulnerable groups that arrived in Pemba were unaccompanied children, separated families and the elderly.

UNHCR and its partners have distributed relief items, including blankets and bedding. Some people have been accommodated in a transit center in Pemba, set up by the Government, while most of the displaced people are living with relatives and friends, whose scarce resources are rapidly depleting.

We are identifying the most vulnerable cases that need urgent help and are referring them to services, and tracking and reuniting missing family members. Nearly 80 percent of separated individuals are women and children. UNHCR is also training partner organization staff to protect displaced people from gender-based violence and sexual exploitation.

The escalation of violence in Cabo Delgado has severely affected health, water and shelter facilities and access to food in the region. This terrible humanitarian crisis is complicated by an already fragile situation of chronic underdevelopment, successive climate catastrophes and recurrent outbreaks of disease, including, most recently, COVID-19.

More resources are much needed as underfunding is hampering our humanitarian response. The UNHCR appeal for our $ 19.2 million Cabo Delgado is just under 40 percent funded.

New sights from the Mozambican Cabo del Gado region will be available soon. Please check Refugees Media for availability, at, or contact [email protected] to Receive Email Advisors About New Video Releases

For more information on this topic, please contact:

  • In Pemba, Margarida Loureiro, [email protected], +258 84 323 2683, +351 964 848 489 (what application)
  • In Pemba, Francesca Fontanini, [email protected], +258 84 312 0930
  • In Maputo, Juliana Ghazi, [email protected], +258 84 321 1545, +1 917 628 9073 (what application)
  • In Pretoria (regional), Hlne Caux, [email protected], + 27 82 376 5190
  • In Geneva, Babar Baloch, [email protected], +41 79 513 9549
  • In Geneva, Boris Cheshirkov, [email protected], +41 79 433 7682
  • In New York, Kathryn Mahoney, [email protected], +1 347 443 7646

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