Food for Mozambicans will be curtailed without more funding
FILE PHOTO: A man walks between tents at a displacement camp in Mozambique. /Getty Images)

FILE PHOTO: A man walks between tents at a displacement camp in Mozambique. /Getty Images)

The United Nations Food relief agency, WFP, continues to supply food for hundreds of thousands of people affected by conflict in northern Mozambique in the face of conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the last three years some half a million people have fled the gas and mineral rich province of Cabo Delgado, as violence and the pandemic continues.

The World Food Programme (WFP) is currently assisting up to 400,000 people in Cabo Delgado, Nampula and Niassa provinces, with a monthly family food basket of cereals, oil, dried beans and lentils.

The baskets provide least 81 percent of the daily kilocalorie needs of displaced families and contribute to prevent already traumatized and vulnerable families from falling victim to exploitation or employing negative coping mechanisms for survival.

WFP is also providing cash-based assistance for families to shop for basic items in local markets by redeeming vouchers equivalent to about $50 per month.

Citing resource shortages, the UN agency noted that over the next three months, it may be forced to reduce or halt vital assistance to conflict-affected people, raising concerns over food and health supplies, as well as tensions within host communities.

"Internally displaced persons are especially vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19 because they are crowded together in camps, host families' backyards and outdoors with no or inadequate shelter, health services and access to clean water and sanitation," said Antonella D'Aprile, WFP Country Representative in Mozambique.

"Thousands of children and adolescents who lost their parents and close family need our protection and care," she added.

The Government pointed out that thousands in Cabo Delgado alone risk serious hunger and malnutrition.

And as some 565,000 people have fled their homes, humanitarian operations face shortages amounting to $108 million.

WFP currently requires $10.5 million each month to provide food assistance to 500,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) and 250,000 to host communities affected by the conflict in northern Mozambique.

WFP needs $132.4 million to ensure humanitarian food assistance for the next 12 months, as of late December, but only $24.4 million has been secured.

(With input from World Food Programme)

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