Cyclones force Mozambique girls to early marriage

Child marriage in Mozambique, photo by UNICEF

Child marriage in Mozambique, photo by UNICEF

from ARIMANDO DOMINGOS in Maputo, Mozambique
Mozambique Bureau
MAPUTO, (CAJ News) HUMANITARIAN organisations are battling to raise funds to fight impending malnutrition and the rising rate of child marriages in Mozambique.

The crises are a direct result of the devastation brought by Cyclones Idai and Kenneth earlier this year.

At risk of death, some 160 000 children under five are among 1 million people facing food shortages and a nutrition crisis.

Recent monitoring missions by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) suggest that the age of the girls being married off has dropped below the pre-emergency average of 13-14 years.

“The impact of two cyclones hitting Mozambique in one season was devastating and unprecedented,” said James McQuen-Patterson, Chief of Health and Nutrition, UNICEF Mozambique.

He added, “However, it is only now that the residual effects of the disaster are really beginning to be felt.”

Before the cyclones, 43 per cent of children in Mozambique were chronically malnourished or stunted

“The agricultural devastation wrought by the two cyclones has made what were already high levels of child malnutrition even worse,” said Marcoluigi Corsi, UNICEF representative in Mozambique.

Lack of funds is affecting the UN agency’s response to the crises.

It requires US$102,6 million (R1,5 billion) through until May 2020.

So far, $34,1 million (R499,2 million) has been received, equating to 33 percent.

Idai and Kenneth left about 700 people dead with more than 500,000 others displaced.

The cyclones brought widespread flooding, destruction of almost 7 800 km2 of crops and the displacement of tens of thousands of families.

– CAJ News

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