from ARMANDO DOMINGOS in Maputo, Mozambique
MAPUTO, (CAJ News) – MALNUTRITION and some deadly diseases are threatening 250 000 displaced children in northern Mozambique as the rainy season starts.
The minors have been forced to flee their homes in the Cabo Delgado province where Islamist groups are wreaking havoc.
The United Nations Children’s Funds (UNICEF) agency is concerned that safe water, sanitation and hygiene services are insufficient to meet the growing needs of children and families in overcrowded temporary accommodation centres and in host communities.
These conditions expose them to the outbreak of water-borne diseases like cholera and the further spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Health conditions like diarrhea can be deadly for displaced children without access to safe water and adequate sanitation.
This is especially true for children suffering from malnutrition.
Henrietta Fore, the UNICEF Executive Director, lamented that in less than two years, children and families in Cabo Delgado had faced a devastating cyclone, flooding, drought, socioeconomic hardship linked to the COVID-19 and conflict.
As conditions in the province deteriorate further – especially with the start of rainy season – water, sanitation and health care systems are under increasing strain.
“Humanitarian partners on the ground must shore up these services to protect the lives and well-being of the region’s children,” Fore said.
Weather-related disasters and conflict over the past two years have contributed to food insecurity and hunger across Cabo Delgado.
Two out of every five children in the province are chronically malnourished and more cases of severe acute malnutrition are being detected among the displaced population.
For 2021, UNICEF is appealing for US$52,8 million (R763,2 million) for the most urgent humanitarian needs in Mozambique.
More than half of the required amount is for the Cabo Delgado.
– CAJ News