Nearly 30,000 children fled a new wave of violence in Cabo Delgado province in Mozambique in June, the highest number of children uprooted in a single month in the past year, Save the Children said today.
At least53 peoplewere killed in the districts of Ancuabe, Metuge, Mecufi, Meluco, Chiure and Nampula in renewed violence across the northern province, forcing more than 50,000 people – 55% of whom were children - to flee their homes.
Families moved in large numbers to the city of Pemba and the towns of Macomia and Montepuez seeking safety even though several deadly attacks were reported last weekend inAncuabe,Macomia and Mocímboa da Praia, with six people, including one pregnant woman, killed.
Now in its fifth year with no immediate end in sight, the conflict in Cabo Delgado has taken a devastating human toll, with repeated reports of beheadings and kidnapping, including many child victims, and about785,000 peopledisplaced, more than a half of them children.
The child rights organisation said it was particularly concerned that this latest spike in violence had disrupted humanitarian assistance, including mental health support for children who have already experienced horrific violence, and the provision of basic services like food, water and shelter for displaced communities.
Data from Save the Children showed that at least 11 schools were shut down in June alone, leaving more than 5,747 students in Ancuabe, Chiure, Mecufi and Meluco without education.
Brechtje van Lith, Save the Children's Country Director in Mozambique, said:
"This has been the worst month for families and children in Cabo Delgado in a year. Those fleeing the violence are running out of options for safe shelters. And yet this is not the first time they are going through this – many are experiencing violence for the umpteenth time with no end in sight. We are extremely worried about the long-term mental health implications of this situation on children, and how the continual movement is harming the mental health of their parents as well. We have to remember that many of them have lost loved ones or witnessed horrors that no child or adult should ever need to see.
"We are providing the support we can but with the situation rapidly evolving, needs are growing, humanitarian aid is minimal at best and we fear many children are going without essential services."
Save the Children is a major responder to the crisis in Cabo Delgado, reaching about 302,000 people, including nearly 174,000 children in 2021. Internally displaced people, host communities and families have been supported with life-saving and life-sustaining support, through child protection, education, health, nutrition, livelihoods, water, sanitation and hygiene interventions, as well as humanitarian and peace building programs. Save the Children implements in Pemba, Metuge, Chiure, Montepuez, Mueda and Palma districts.