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A perfect storm

Mozambique’s humanitarian needs are increasing as donor funding for those needs is falling

Today’s front pages in Maputo. Photo credit: Faizal Chauque / Zitamar News

Good afternoon. News that the National Institute for Disaster Management (INGD) is missing most of the money it has budgeted to deal with the current rainy season should surprise nobody familiar with the aid industry in Mozambique. The INGD is badly managed and has been damaged by corruption scandals, in which aid given by international donors has been diverted, leading to cases like food donations turning up for sale in shops. Unsurprisingly, donors now prefer to bypass the agency. This forces the INGD to fall back on the Mozambican government, which at present struggles even to pay teachers’ salaries.

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However, none of this should distract from the very real need for humanitarian aid, both to deal with the effects of natural disasters (notably flooding and cyclones) and to support the large number of people in Cabo Delgado province living in displacement camps, having been forced to leave their homes because of the violent insurgency. Unfortunately, the gap between those needs and the aid provided to meet them is currently growing.

The camp dwellers have struggled to feed themselves, despite supposedly having been given plots of land to grow crops. The plots granted are inadequate and they have clashed with the local population in trying to use them. As a result, they are dependent on food aid. For those who have returned to their home towns and villages, under pressure from the government, the situation is no better. Many settlements have long been abandoned due to the insurgent threat, depriving them of essential services. Thus even after leaving camps, victims of the insurgency are still dependent on aid. This trend has caused the burden on aid agencies to increase still further.

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