UN Raises Alarm Over 780,000 Displaced in Mozambique, Predominantly Due to Northern Violence

The head of the United Nations refugee agency issued a fresh warning on Thursday regarding the plight of over 780,000 displaced individuals in Mozambique. The vast majority of these people have been forced to flee due to a seven-year insurgency led by a militant group, causing turmoil in the northern region of the country.

Filippo Grandi, the U.N.’s high commissioner for refugees, visited Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province, where an insurgent group affiliated with the Islamic State has been carrying out attacks since 2017. These attacks have forced approximately 1.3 million people to flee their homes to escape violence and brutality. Around 600,000 individuals have since returned to communities devastated by the destruction of infrastructure, including houses, markets, churches, schools, and health facilities.

Grandi’s visit coincided with a resurgence of attacks by the Islamic State group in Cabo Delgado since January, following a period of relative calm in 2023. These recent attacks have resulted in 80,000 new displacements, pushing the total number of displaced individuals in Mozambique to over three-quarters of a million. Some aid agencies suggest that the number of those displaced by violence in the north since January is closer to 100,000.

Of those displaced, approximately 700,000 are in Cabo Delgado, while the remaining 80,000 are in the central Sofala province, which was severely affected by Cyclone Idai in 2019.

Grandi emphasized the need for continued international support to address the crisis in Mozambique, highlighting a significant funding gap in the U.N.’s humanitarian plan for the country. The U.N. requires $400 million to assist Mozambique this year alone but has only received pledges amounting to 5% of that sum, according to Robert Piper, the special adviser on internally displaced people to U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres. Piper stressed that while some resources are available, additional funding is urgently needed to address the ongoing crisis.

About Geraldine Boechat 2711 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia