MOZAMBIQUE – The United Nations World Food Programme is in urgent need of US$132.4 million to be channelled in offering humanitarian food assistance in the next 12 months to the 750,000 people affected by the conflicts in nothern Mozambique.

WFP is currently assisting up to 400,000 people in the country with an in-kind monthly family food basket of 50 kg of cereals, 5 liters of oil and 10 kg of dried beans and lentils.

The humanitarian organization also provides cash-based assistance where local markets are functioning, allowing families to choose which basic needs to meet (food items and hygiene kits) through redeeming value vouchers of 3600 MZN (equivalent to about US$50) per month.

This food basket ensures at least 81% of the daily kilocalorie needs of displaced families, and contributes to preventing already traumatized and vulnerable families from falling victim to exploitation or employing negative coping mechanisms for survival.

However, the winner of the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate has indicated that its resources are stretched and may be forced to reduce or halt vital food assistance to conflict-affected people in Cabo Delgado, Nampula and Niassa over the next three months.

“It is incredibly timely to join efforts now and protect the food and nutrition security and livelihood of Mozambicans impacted by armed attacks, Cyclone Kenneth and the COVID-19 pandemic.”

WFP Country Representative in Mozambique – Antonella D’Aprile

This not only raises concerns around food security and health risks resulting from malnutrition but also could create 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.

“Thousands of children and adolescents who lost their parents and close family need our protection and care”, said WFP Country Representative in Mozambique, Antonella D’Aprile.

So far, they have received US$24,4 million as of late December 2020 with the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) being one of its recent donors dishing out US$3.5m.

If resources are available and access is granted, WFP will be able to move cargo and its humanitarian workforce, by road, sea and air, to provide humanitarian life-saving assistance.

Without urgent and sustained assistance, the situation may turn into another major humanitarian crisis.

“It is incredibly timely to join efforts now and protect the food and nutrition security and livelihood of Mozambicans – men, women, adolescents, and children – impacted by armed attacks, Cyclone Kenneth and the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Antonella D’Aprile.

Meanwhile, the United Nations agency responsible for providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children worldwide UNICEF has appealed for more than US$1 billion to support its lifesaving nutrition programmes for children in the affected countries over 2021.

This comes as the agency revealed shocking statistics that 10.4 million children are projected to suffer from acute malnutrition in 2021 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), northeast Nigeria, the Central Sahel, South Sudan and Yemen.

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