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Mozambique: Safety of children must be front and centre in any response in Cabo Delgado

Thursday, 8 April - Today, southern African leaders discuss measures to address terrorism in the Republic of Mozambique during the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Extraordinary Summit.

Save the Children’s Country Director in Mozambique, Chance Briggs, urged:

“As SADC leaders today assess the grim situation in Cabo Delgado and decide on possible interventions, we call on them to ensure any response takes the immediate needs and safety of children into account. Children are being targeted in this conflict. They are killed, they are abducted, and they are forced to leave their homes and sense of safety behind. Children must be front and centre of any response in Cabo Delgado. Children must be protected.

“All parties to this conflict must ensure that children are never targets. They must respect international humanitarian and human rights laws and take all necessary actions to minimise incidental civilian harm.

“Hundreds of thousands of children and their families – over 1/3 of the population of the province - are now displaced across Cabo Delgado. There are 772,000 displaced people, including children. Most are living with relatives, while many others are living in temporary camps. In too many cases, these children and their families are living in squalid conditions.

“These kids need the basics – food, clean water, shelter, and healthcare – and they also need at minimum some degree of psychosocial support to help them process the horrors they have seen. They also need to be able to go back to school, both to exercise their right to learn and to support some sense of normalcy despite the terror they have experienced.

“Aid agencies like Save the Children are working with displaced children and their families in temporary camps and in host communities, working hard to meet the basic needs of children and their families, but there simply are not enough resources available. With the Mozambique Humanitarian Response plan just 1% funded, there remains a massive gap of US $250 million that urgently needs to be filled. We urgently call on donor governments to step up their funding commitments to fully fund the humanitarian response in Cabo Delgado and to ensure in particular that child protection needs, including mental health support and family tracing and reunification, are covered.

“At the same time, we call on bilateral and multilateral partners to release financial resources for programmes to address the long-term development needs of the people of Cabo Delgado, without which the Cabo Delgado crisis is likely to get worse and worse.”



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