If the violence in Cabo Delgado is not stopped, the number of displaced persons in the province of northeast Mozambique could exceed millions by June. The figure was brought up by a spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) who announced this Tuesday that it had registered 11,000 people who fled the jihadist attack on the village of Palma on March 24.
The United Nations currently counts around 700,000 displaced persons from the three and a half years of violent conflict, but fears that this number will continue to rise in the coming weeks if the violence is not stopped “to overcome the million-dollar barrier in June of this year, if the violence doesn’t stop, ”said Babar Baloch.
Baloch said, quoted by Europa Press, that the organization is “working around the clock to help the thousands of people reaching safe areas in Cabo Delgado province,” in a river that has not stopped since the day of the attack .
“Since March 24, when the attack began, civilians have been arriving in Pemba, Nangade, Mueda and Montepuez on foot and by boat,” he said. Baluch confirmed that humanitarian flights to evacuate people from the region have been suspended pending the Mozambican authorities’ resumption approval.
Mozambique’s INGD said Monday that around 30,000 people still hiding in the Palma district are in urgent need of assistance for the next 30 days.
“As of the 24th, an estimated 30,000 people have been displaced in Palma,” said César Tembe, Director of Prevention and Damage Control at INGD (National Institute for Disaster Risk Management and Reduction).
The new displaced are mostly women and children who arrive “with few belongings” and “signs of severe trauma from the atrocities they have witnessed,” the spokesman said – “nearly 80% of the separated are women and children”. Baluch stated that “the sudden and deadly nature of the attacks has scattered families and many have not yet escaped.”
The UNHCR spokesman, however, spoke of “worrying information” from Tanzania, where the authorities refused to grant asylum to around 1,000 people who fled there after the attacks in Palma. Baluch called on the neighboring countries in Mozambique to “allow those fleeing violence and seeking protection access to their territory and to asylum procedures”.