In May, the province of Cabo Delgado experienced an uptick in violence. In the north, violent attacks occurred in the districts of Muidumbe, Palma, and Mocímboa da Praia. In the south, incidents involving insurgents were recorded in Meluco, Macomia, and Quissanga districts. The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) recorded 44 violent events in Cabo Delgado province, which is three times as many violent attacks compared to the month of April.
While the overall number of people displaced did not significantly changed, an important number of individuals returned to their places of origin. Overall, there are 784,000 people displaced in northern Mozambique, of whom 49 percent are children and 28 percent are women. In May, the IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), recorded 10,747 returns especially in Palma, Muidumbe, and Macomia districts.
The impact of the climatic shocks that hit northern Mozambique earlier this year came to light in May, with concerning rates of food insecurity reported in several districts. With a total of 244,000 hectares of crops and 189,000 farmers affected across the country, FEWSNET reported that 1.9 million people experienced stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security level while one million people experienced crisis (IPC Phase 3) food security level, resulting in an increasing number of households engaging in negative coping strategies. Amidst limited resources and a potential pipeline break in June, WFP assisted 659,400 people through cash-based transfers and distributions of food rations limited to the equivalent of 39 percent of the daily kilocalories due to funding constraints. In May, the living conditions of poor households were further exacerbated by the impact of the conflict in Ukraine, as the prices of cooking gas, gasoline, and bread sharply increased across the country.
The health sector was also impacted by the violence and the rainy season experienced in northern Mozambique. According to the WHO Baseline Assessment for Cabo Delgado conducted in May, 30 out of 135 health facilities in the province were destroyed during the conflict. Cases of waterborne diseases increased in the districts most-affected by the floods, with malaria, febrile syndrome, and diarrhea remaining the top three illnesses across Cabo Delgado in May.
Reports of child marriage amongst displaced children in Cabo Delgado have doubled. In May, Save the Children reported that rates of early marriage have substantially increased amongst children forced by conflict into displacement camps and crowded homes across Cabo Delgado1 . Between January and March 2022, the INGO recorded 108 cases of child marriage in the Pemba, Metuge, Chiure, and Montepuez districts of Cabo Delgado, compared to 65 cases between October and December 2021. The worrying rise in child marriage is the result of a combination of factors, including the continued distress that many of the families have been facing living in transit centers. Children in Cabo Delgado are above the national average in most social negative indicators such as chronic malnutrition, school completion rate, illiteracy rate and access to basic social services.2 Cabo Delgado already has the second-highest rate of child marriage and the highest rate of adolescent pregnancy in Mozambique-65 per cent of adolescents aged 15-19 are already mothers or pregnant.