Hunger and disease threaten 250,000 children in northern Mozambique

The start of the rainy season and the escalation of violence in northern Mozambique threaten to cause malnutrition and fatal diseases in the around 250,000 children who have had to leave their homes, especially due to the lack of safe water, sanitation and hygiene. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has alerted this Tuesday.

The increase in the actions of the terrorist group Islamic State in Central Africa (ISCA) already leaves more than half a million internally displaced people, of which around half are children. Many of the families have settled in overcrowded temporary accommodation centers or in host communities where basic services are scarce.

UNICEF Director Henrietta Fore lamented that this new escalation adds to “a devastating cyclone, floods, droughts and socio-economic difficulties related to the conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“As conditions in the province deteriorate, and more so now that the rainy season begins, the pressure on the water, sanitation and medical care systems grows,” said Fore, who for this reason has asked for more collaboration of the “humanitarian allies”.

Lack of proper sanitation can lead to cholera or diarrhea, an illness the latter that is easily preventable and treatable but can be fatal, especially for children suffering from nutritional deficiencies.

Over the past two years, climate and conflict-related disasters have contributed to food insecurity and hunger throughout Cabo Delgado. Two out of every five children in the province suffer from chronic malnutrition and more cases of severe acute malnutrition are being detected among the displaced population.

UNICEF, which has expanded its response in the area to improve the assistance of these minors, has recalled that some of these children have fled the violence alone and may have witnessed or even suffered extreme situations in their own flesh, so they also need psychosocial support.

The UN agency has requested 52.8 million dollars (43.2 million euros) to respond to the most urgent humanitarian needs in Mozambique. Of this amount, 30 million are destined to the Humanitarian Response Plan for Cabo Delgado, the epicenter of violence in recent months.

© 2020 Europa Press.

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