Thousands flee fighting in Palma, Mozambique: UN

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UNITED NATIONS, March 30 (Xinhua) — The United Nations expects thousands of people are fleeing continued sporadic fighting in northern Mozambique, UN humanitarians said on Tuesday.

The people are making their way from Palma “by foot, boat and road to reach safer destinations, including to Pemba some 400 km south along the coast,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a release. The flow of displaced began following the outbreak of attacks on March 24.

The United Nations and partners are following with deep concern developments in Palma in Cabo Delgado province after the attacks by non-state armed groups and clashes in the region, it said.

Humanitarian colleagues report displaced people, including children, arrive in dire conditions, traumatized, injured and in need of urgent medical care. Many saw their family members killed and had to hide in the bushes for days, without food or water, to evade the armed men who attacked their communities, OCHA said.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said more than 3,360 people displaced from Palma had arrived in Nangade, Mueda, Montepuez and Pemba districts as of Monday. The UN agency anticipates the numbers will continue to increase over the coming days.

The United Nations and its humanitarian partners are rapidly mobilizing personnel and resources to support arrival points.

The World Food Programme provides emergency food assistance. The IOM offers medical and other supplies, basic shelter, household items, hygiene products, water buckets and water purifying tablets to prevent disease.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the UN Children’s Fund support vulnerable people’s identification and referral at the arrival points. The UNHCR and partners have housed all unaccompanied children and single mothers with temporary host families in Pemba.

However, OCHA said that as the violence escalates, more resources are needed to aid people fleeing violence. The humanitarian appeal for the Cabo Delgado crisis is just 1 percent funded. Enditem

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