Mozambique has been battered by five tropical storms along its northern coastal areas since the start of this year. Tens of thousands of families have been affected, including refugees and people internally displaced by ongoing violence in the oil-rich province of Cabo Delgado.
The last storm, Tropical Cyclone Gombe, made landfall on March 11. It affected some 736,000 people, including tens of thousands of refugees, asylum-seekers and the communities hosting them.
Grainne OHara, the Division of International Protection for the U.N. refugee agency, recently participated in a high-level mission to Mozambique to view the impact of the climate disasters and assess the needs.
She said a visit to Maratane, Mozambique’s main refugee hosting settlement, was an eye-opening experience and that the devastation caused by Cyclone Gombe was huge. She noted that upward of 80 percent of the shelters of both the refugees and hosting communities have been damaged.
She added that the impact of conflict in Cabo Delgado and extreme weather events have left people extremely vulnerable, and that they are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance as well as physical, material, and legal protection.
OHara said the UNHCR needs $36.7 million to scale up its assistance and protection operation in Mozambique this year.