from ARMANDO DOMINGOS in Maputo, Mozambique
MAPUTO, (CAJ News) – HUNDREDS OF thousands of civilians displaced by conflict in northern Mozambique are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.
They are the victims of ongoing attacks by Islamists and military intervention to resolve the crisis in the province of Cabo Delgado.
More than 400 000 people are now displaced.
These displaced people now face serious health risks and inadequate living conditions, the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF or Doctors without Borders) stated.
Approximately 10 000 displaced people arrived by boat to the provincial capital of Pemba last week alone.
“They were dehydrated. Women gave birth at sea,” said Joaquim Guinart, MSF project coordinator in Cabo Delgado.
Around 100 000 internally displaced people have sought refuge in and around Pemba in temporary shelter sites, such as school buildings, or with host families, increasing the city’s population by a third.
Many lack clean drinking water and are exposed to malaria.
The unsanitary, crowded conditions are increasing the risk of an outbreak of measles, diarrhoea or COVID-19.
“There have been cases of severe, potentially fatal, diarrhoea,” said Guinart.
Insurgents have also destroyed medical facilities.
MSF had to suspend medical humanitarian activities in the other troubled area of Mocimboa da Praia in March.
Activities have also been grounded in Macomia in May after a health centre was ransacked and burned.
It is estimated that more than 20 local health facilities have been destroyed during the conflict.
Fighting started in October 2017, leaving more than 2 000 people dead.
Alain Kassa, MSF Head of Mission for Mozambique, said the humanitarian situation would rapidly deteriorate if assistance was not forthcoming.
– CAJ News