The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has launched a 2021 appeal for $52.8 Million USD to address the most urgent and growing humanitarian crisis across Mozambique. The campaign will support approximately 250,000 children who are most at risk to water borne diseases, many of whom have been displaced by climate disasters, socioeconomic hardship and conflict.
Over half of the funding will be directed to the Humanitarian Response Plan for Cabo Delgado, the particularly hard-hit northernmost province of the country.
In the past two years, “children and families in Cabo Delgado have faced a devastating cyclone, flooding, drought, socioeconomic hardship linked to the COVID-19 pandemic and conflict”, said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore, in announcing the appeal on 21 December.
In the region, two out of five children are chronically malnourished, with severe malnutrition among the displaced population. Access to clean water and sanitation is extremely limited.
The new funding has been requested in order to bolster services in overcrowded temporary accommodation centres. Funds will be applied prevent outbreaks of water-borne diseases such as cholera and any further spread of COVID-19 in advance of the onset of the rainy season.
UNICEF plans to expand its water, sanitation, and children’s nutritional health support programmes through mobile deployed of key workers. Services to women and children such as antenatal care and vaccination support will also be included in these programmes.
Also included is special support for displaced children, who are especially vulnerable. Many children have witnessed or experienced extreme violence or even lost close family members to brutal killings and abductions. UNICEF and its partners will offer comprehensive protection in “safe spaces” for children including psychosocial support after experiencing such traumatic events.
The appeal follows on from warnings made in September that predicted crisis levels of food insecurity in early 2021. At the time, Cabo Delgado had the highest level of chronic malnutrition, including more than half the children under five. It also reported the second highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country. UNICEF posted a further warning of the potential spread of the virus due to the high level of displacements.