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WFP: Unrest in Northern Mozambique Creating Acute Food Shortages

Displaced women attend a meeting at Centro Agrario de Napala where hundreds of displaced people are sheltered, fleeing attacks by armed insurgents in different areas of the province of Cabo Delgado, in northern Mozambique, Dec. 11, 2020.

The World Food Program is warning that hundreds of thousands of people in conflict-ridden northern Mozambique are facing life-threatening shortages of food.

Escalating violence and increased insecurity in Mozambique’s three northernmost provinces, Cabo Delgado, Niassa and Nampula, are disrupting agricultural activities and causing food prices to skyrocket. The World Food Program says this is spurring dangerous levels of hunger and malnutrition.

The WFP says over 900,000 people in the region are reaching emergency levels of food insecurity. WFP spokesman Tomson Phiri says a recent mission to these areas found malnourished children on the brink of starvation.

“Cabo Delgado, it has to be noted, it has the highest rates of chronic malnutrition in Mozambique — with more than half the children malnourished," she said. "Without urgent and sustained access and assistance, the situation may turn into another major humanitarian disaster.”

Phiri says other vulnerable groups, including pregnant and nursing women, also need urgent nutritional support.

In light of this emergency, WFP says it plans to scale up its humanitarian operation in Mozambique’s volatile northern provinces, aiming to deliver needed food to 750,000 people.

The agency is appealing for $117 million for its humanitarian operation during the next 12 months. Without the required financial support it says it will have to cut food rations to this population.