DURBAN – OFFICIALS from the UN Directors for Southern and Eastern Africa and affiliate humanitarian groups have shared findings from their recent visit to the ravaged Northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado.
The groups include the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the International Organization for Migration, The United Nations Population Fund, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC) and World Food Programme, as well as by the UN Development Programme Resilience Hub manager and members of the UN Country Team.
The area has been plagued by violence from a group that has been linked to the terrorist organisation, the Islamic State, which has been terrorising communities in the oil-rich province since 2017.
On Wednesday, officials held a media briefing where they expressed their concerns on the impact that the displacement of more than 500 000 people would have on future generations.
The mission met internally displaced people who have been victims of attacks, continue facing insecurity and have lost everything including their agricultural land, livelihoods and homes. With limited supplies reaching markets, the cost of food and household items has rocketed. As displacement numbers increase daily, the lack of security, adequate food, water, sanitation, shelter, health, protection and education is exacerbating a dire situation.
Speaking during the briefing, Valentin Tapsoba, the UNHRC director Regional Bureau for Southern Africa, said there were hundreds of children who were not in school and had no means of attending classes.
Tapsoba said that would lead to a lost generation.
He added that sites had been set up to help the displaced groups as well as centres where those who fled with just the clothes on their backs, could fill out documents for new IDs and other important paperwork that they might have left behind. That would help them in starting a new life.
UN resident co-ordinator in Mozambique Mytra Kaulard said there has been a cholera outbreak in the area which was worsening the situation.
She said the needs of the people were many and that there was a lack of resources to help everyone.
During the delegation’s visit, they noted that urgent investments in development and resilience-building were required to not only promote human rights and social justice, but also to limit the impact of current crises and help prevent future ones.
The delegation has urged the government of Mozambique and the international community to step up efforts to end violence in the country, including gender-based violence and child marriage, and to invest more in women and girls as agents of progress and change.