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Highlights Last Updated: 30 Oct 2020

  • Multiple shocks, including the conflict in Cabo Delgado, drought in the south, disease outbreaks and COVID-19 are compounding already significant humanitarian needs in Mozambique.
  • At the end of October, more than 12,500 people had contracted COVID-19 in all Mozambique’s 11 provinces, and over 90 died from the disease.
  • The escalation of the conflict in Cabo Delgado since the beginning of 2020 has driven massive displacement and increased humanitarian needs. Over 355,000 people are now displaced.
  • The violence in Cabo Delgado is also hampering humanitarian assistance with aid organizations facing important challenges to reach people affected when they need it the most.
Thousands of displaced people arrive in Pemba fleeing violence in Cabo Delgado
More than 10,000 people arrived in Cabo Delgado’s capital Pemba from 16 to 26 October alone, fleeing violence in Ibo, Quissanga and Macomia districts. Photo: OCHA / Sergio Dinoi


Country profile

One of the poorest and most underdeveloped countries in the world, Mozambique is home to nearly 30 million people in the south-east of Africa, more than 70 per cent of them living un rural areas. The country holds one of the lowest Human Development Index (HDI) in the world, ranking 180 out of 189 countries and territories. More than 62 per cent of the population live below the international poverty line, and over 83 per cent of the jobs are vulnerable.

Extremely susceptible to climate shocks, Mozambique has been facing cyclical droughts and flooding over the last years, including two major cyclones in 2019, which compounds the high poverty levels and increase vulnerability across most of the country. In addition, increasing violence and insecurity, mainly in the north of the country, leads to displacements and protection concerns.

These consecutive crises and continued destruction of livelihoods cause widespread food insecurity–80 per cent of the population cannot afford an adequate diet­–, chronic malnutrition, with over 43 per cent of children under age 5 stunted and recurrent disease outbreaks. In a country with very weak coverage of public services, particularly health, education and access to clean water and sanitation, humanitarian assistance is crucial to support the most vulnerable.

[Updated in March 2020]



Cyclones Idai and Kenneth

Tropical Cyclone Idai made landfall during the night of 14 to 15 March 2019 in central Mozambique, bringing torrential rains and winds to Sofala, Zambezia, Manica and Inhambane provinces. The cyclone caused loss of life and significant damage to infrastructure, leaving hundreds of thousands of people in need of assistance.

On the evening of 25 April, the country was hit again, this time by Tropical Cyclone Kenneth, affecting Cabo Delgado province. With wind gusts of up to 220km/h, Kenneth became the strongest cyclone to ever hit the African continent.

It was the first time in recorded history that two strong tropical cyclones hit Mozambique in the same season.