Maputo, December 10th, 2020

First support for the internally displaced in northern Mozambique

 Violent terrorist attacks in northern Mozambique such as in Quissanga and Macomia in the Cabo Delgado region have forced thousands of families to flee. Helvetas plans to improve the access to water and to promote hygiene. A first visit showed how important humanitarian response is.

Internally displaced persons (IDPs) are often hosted by relatives or friends. Those without connections who do not have anywhere to go often end up sleeping in the streets. In Chiure the District Government established a transit center for the homeless IDPs in November. This temporary shelter is located in the old school building of the Chiure Secondary School.

When Helvetas visited the center the conditions were dire:


Water supply is from a school, but it does not reach directly the location where the IDPs are housed. A close-by hand pump is defunct. The block of latrines made available to the IDPs is quite far away from their shelter and in bad condition. There is one single latrine just outside the school, and all the IDPs are using this one. Women, men and children sleep on the concrete floor without any protection from mosquitos and rats. The IDPs receive food from the government and the UN World Food Program (WFP) such as maize, beans, oil, salt. Some of the IDPs were sick with fever, vomiting and having stomach problems. Occasionally the local health authorities organize mobile health clinics.

The situation is tense. Helvetas was told by the IDPs that they will be moving to Katapua, the second resettlement area identified by the local government. The first resettlement area in Marupa is already full of about 700 families. The new area in Katapua is filling up rapidly, currently with 540 families and 200 plots ready. There are more centers in preparation; in Meculani (948 plots), Metota, Ocua Sede, and the government is evaluating more areas in Mazeze Sede, Bilibiza and Namogelia.

Helvetas visited the resettlement areas in Marupa and Katapua, where IDPs constructed new houses and some have already constructed traditional latrines. In both centers there are water points, but still not enough to cater for this large number of people. We observed a huge and clearly agitated crowd at the water point when we visited. Helvetas plans install additional water points in these two centers and to promote good sanitation practices.


In the Ancuabe district the resettlement area Nankumi already hosts 400 new families, with more arrivals expected. Here Helvetas in collaboration with the district technical services will construct a small water supply system as soon as UNICEF completes the drilling of a borehole.

There is large need for water – not only in the IDP communities, but also the communities at the edge of the resettlement areas. Only focusing on the needs of the IDPs may result in conflict. Helvetas will therefore also work with and include the neighboring communities.


The humanitarian response will not be done by Helvetas solely. Helvetas will collaborate with the local partner AMASI, and the district technical services will support water supply and sanitation/hygiene promotion for host families and IDPs in Chiure and Ancuabe districts. The project is funded by UNICEF and Swiss Solidarity.


Country Director
Jürg Merz, PhD