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OIM: More Than 54,000 Displaced in Three Weeks in Cabo Delgado

OIM: More Than 54,000 Displaced in Three Weeks in Cabo Delgado

The new wave of terrorist attacks in Cabo Delgado, in northern Mozambique, has caused at least 54,415 displaced people in three weeks, according to an estimate released on Saturday by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

According to the most recent regular bulletin from the intergovernmental agency, the displacement of people was due to ‘attacks and the fear of attacks by armed groups’ between April 17 and May 5, mainly in the districts of Ancuabe and Chiùre, but also in Eráti, in the neighbouring province of Nampula, involving 13,131 families.

In the district of Chiùre, south of Cabo Delgado, which has been the epicentre of the most violent terrorist attacks in recent months, the IOM registered a total of 51,012 displaced people during this period, the majority (49,798) registered by the organisation in the villages of Namissir and Micone.

In Ancuabe district, the IOM registered 2,959 displaced people, who fled mainly to the district headquarters, and in Eráti district another 444 displaced people.

The majority of the displaced during this period left from the Chiùre-Velho administrative post (40,316), mainly to the district headquarters, the town of Chiùre, which since February has received tens of thousands of people fleeing from neighbouring communities.

Of the total number of displaced people in this period, 59 per cent (33,260) are children and 23 per cent (12,276) are women, says the IOM, pointing out that 99 per cent of these people in flight need food and 96 per cent need shelter.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said on 7 March in Pemba, the capital of Cabo Delgado province, that he had only secured 5% of the 400 million dollars (371 million euros) needed to respond to the crisis of displaced people caused by terrorist attacks and natural disasters in northern Mozambique.

‘Unfortunately, it’s not well funded,’ admitted Filippo Grandi, speaking to journalists after visiting resettlement camps for displaced people fleeing the latest terrorist attacks, reinforcing the call for international support.

The head of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that the terrorist attacks in the province since 2017 had so far displaced around 1.3 million people and that 780,000 people remained outside their villages of origin, although 600,000 had returned.

According to the UN organisations, the latest wave of terrorist attacks in Cabo Delgado alone caused 100,000 displaced people in February, mainly in Chiùre.

The high commissioner admitted that the more publicised conflicts taking place in other places have conditioned the channelling of funds for the 2024 support plan for Cabo Delgado, which involves ‘joint efforts’ with other agencies.

‘Unfortunately, Mozambique’s situation is perhaps not the most visible,’ Grandi pointed out.

‘If we don’t have all the resources we need, unfortunately we will have to do less,’ he added, assuming, however, the need to mobilise more resources to contain the humanitarian crisis in northern Mozambique.

After several months of relative normality in the affected districts, Cabo Delgado has seen new movements and attacks by rebel groups since February, with deaths and the destruction of homes and public buildings.

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