Mozambicans flee terror, lurch into COVID-19

Cabo Delgado province, Mozambique

from ARMANDO DOMINGOS in Maputo, Mozambique
MAPUTO, (CAJ News) OUT of the frying pan and into the fire.

That is the case of thousands of civilians fleeing intensifying terror attacks in towns and villages in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province.

They are fleeing by foot, boat or road to the provincial capital, Pemba, which is a hotspot for the coronavirus (COVD-19).

“People fleeing armed conflict in Mozambique are trading this life-threatening danger for the risk of COVID-19,” said Raoul Bittel, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Pemba.

The Red Cross this week opened the country’s largest COVID-19 treatment centre in the town.

The risk of contracting the virus in Pemba is high.

Most refugees find shelter with families or relatives, putting an additional burden on them and increasing the kinds of overcrowded conditions that help propagate the spread of the virus.

Physical distancing is highly impossible.

Families have arrived in exhausted and traumatised.

More are expected to arrive in the coming weeks after recent attacks by Islamists in Mocímboa da Praia and other parts of Cabo Delgado.

Recurrent violence has plagued communities in resource-rich province since 2017.

The banditry has left an estimated 2 500 people dead

The Red Cross recently suspended its work indefinitely in some affected areas.

– CAJ News

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