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Cabo Delgado Humanitarian overview

UNFPA’s interventions

UNFPA is the lead agency on both gender-based violence (GBV) and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) during humanitarian emergencies. During conflicts, natural disasters, and public health emergencies, sexual and reproductive health needs are often overlooked, with staggering consequences. 
Situation in the Northern Province:
Out of 732,227 displaced persons across five provinces, there is an estimated (MISP calculations):
  • 175,000+ women of reproductive age (15-49)
  • 20,000+ currently pregnant women
  • 1,000+ pregnant women who will experience life threatening complications while giving birth during the next 3 months
 (*from IOM DTM Baseline Report - June 2021)
Since June 2020, UNFPA has supported the Government of Mozambique in providing humanitarian assistance to 230,000 people in Cabo Delgado through the following interventions:
  • 26,600 women and girls received sexual and reproductive health through mobile health clinics (from Jan - May 2021)
  • 317 service providers and hotline operators trained to provide gender-based violence services and support in the context of COVID-19
  • 14 health tents installed to enable safe access to sexual and reproductive health services and protect 70,000+ women and girls by adhering to COVID-19 safety measures
  • 3,936 women and girls received dignity kits to support menstrual hygiene and mitigate risks of gender-based violence
  • 6,455 women and girls participated in stress-relief activities in 6 women-friendly spaces
  • 84 health facilities providing gender-based violence services
  • 67,000 women and girls supported with sexual and reproductive health supplies and equipment through 96 reproductive health kits

“Cabo Delgado is experiencing the perfect storm of conflict, cyclones, COVID-19, and cholera - and women and girls are bearing the highest brunt of these crises. They continue to be on the move, with many having to flee their homes at moments’ notice without little personal items or access to services to look after their health, hygiene, or safety.” Andrea M. Wojnar, UNFPA Mozambique Representative

The Context

Mozambique is a disaster-prone country, exacerbated by the effects of climate change. The country also continues to face the threat of outbreaks of pandemic, creating a double shock, and further stretching the capacity of health systems to ensure continuity of essential and lifesaving sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and gender-based violence (GBV) services. A combination of environmental disasters, COVID-19, and violence and attacks in the northern province of Cabo Delgado have combined to create an increasingly dire humanitarian context. 

In the last year, internal displacement of people by either violence or environmental disaster has left more than 1.3 million people - including both displaced individuals and host communities - in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.

The attack and clashes in Palma town and surrounding areas, which began on 24 March 2021, have caused tens of thousands of people to be displaced in Cabo Delgado Province in northern Mozambique. By the end of May 2021, more than 62,500 people had arrived by foot, bus, boat and air from Palma to neighboring districts (IOM, May 2021, Displacement Tracking Matrix).

The Cabo Delgado Crisis and its Impact on Women and Girls

As with many humanitarian crises, the situation in Mozambique is taking a particular toll on women and girls. In crises, women and girls face an increased risk of gender-based violence, unwanted and unintended pregnancies, and preventable death due to pregnancy and childbirth complications.

With health facilities providing comprehensive health services either closing or in critical need of essential medical supplies, equipment, the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls remain at risk.

Without urgent intervention, the current disruption of services may result in tens of additional maternal deaths that could be averted. In addition, displaced women face increased risk of gender-based violence and limited services to prevent or respond to such violence. It is estimated that 5,280 women (displaced and from host communities) could seek care as a result of sexual violence (based on MISP calculations) in the context of the crisis in Cabo Delgado.

UNFPA Mozambique’s Strategic Priorities in response to the Cabo Delgado Crisis:

  • Ensure life-saving GBV prevention and response services are available and accessible
  • Increase the availability of and access to life-saving sexual and reproductive health services and interventions, including family planning and emergency obstetric and newborn care
  • Respond to COVID-19 and mitigate its secondary impacts on women and girls  

Specific attention is also given to ensuring access for vulnerable and marginalised groups who face greater difficulties in accessing information and services due to entrenched forms of discrimination and exclusion. UNFPA’s humanitarian response efforts take into consideration reaching those further behind who are at risk of being excluded. This includes initiatives to reach vulnerable and marginalized populations with SRHR and GBV information and services.


Help women and girls get the life-saving support they urgently need!