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Conflict Leaves Thousands Displaced in Mozambique


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By Ashok Ramsarup :: The international medical humanitarian organisation – Doctors Without Borders or Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) – has reported that almost 400 000 thousand people fled their homes and the rural areas following the conflict in Cabo Delgado,situated in the northernmost province of Mozambique.

The MSF said the people were displaced as a result of ongoing violent attacks by armed groups and military actions from Mozambican forces forcing them to flee to Pemba, the port city of Cabo Delgado. The disturbing details emerging from Mozambique, bordering South Africa were now raising serious health concerns and the deteriorating food security situation as a result of the conflict.

The MSF confirmed that the internally displaced people (IDPs) were living in temporary shelters, school buildings, or with host families. The organisation said: “Many IDPs lack clean drinking water and are exposed to malaria with barely any protection while they remain in unsanitary, crowded conditions, increasing the risk of an outbreak of measles, diarrhea, and coronavirus. They are now seeking humanitarian assistance.”

MSF Cabo Delgado Project Coordinator Joaquim Guinartindicated that thousands of people arrived by boat to Pemba dehydrated. Guinart said: “Women gave birth at sea. There have been reported cases of severe, potentially fatal diarrhea. There’s a lot of pressure on the local medical staff. Earlier this month 20,000 people arrived in the port city throughout and more are expected to come.”

A growing number of IDPs receive medical treatment in Pemba as a result of conflict in Cabo Delgado (courtesy MSF)

The MSF stated they suspended medical humanitarian work in Mocimboa da Praia and Macomia following the attacks. Guinard said the health centre in Macomia was ransacked and burned. ‘It is estimated that more than 20 local health facilities have been destroyed during the conflict,” he stated.

The MSF relocated their base to the city of Pemba, but still remain operational in Cabo Delgado as a result of administrative constraints and COVID-19 travel restrictions, the international body continues to provide medical assistance to IDPs and the needy communities.

MSF Head of Mission for Mozambique Alain Kassa indicated that mobile clinics were established to provide medical assistance to IDPs and remote areas in Metuge. Kassa said: “With the support of partners, we are building 150 toilets and restoring 27 manual water pumps and five water systems in the Metuge district, ensuring access to safe clean water ahead of the rainy season.

“If no immediate action is taken, this situation will rapidly deteriorate, and MSF calls upon the Mozambican authorities for support to mobilise additional humanitarian staff and supplies without delay,” added Kassa.

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