• Crisis Severity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 28,860,000 Total population [?]
  • 4,941,000 People exposed [?]
  • 620 Fatalities reported [?]



Since October 2017, an Islamic extremist armed group has been launching violent attacks on civilians in the northern province of Cabo Delgado. Violent incidents involving the group, known as Ahlu Sunna Wal-Jama, have been increasing, with incessant attacks on civilians, government forces, and military installations. The group’s activities have been concentrated on the coast of Cabo Delgado from Pemba city to the Tanzanian border. The government’s response, however, has led to further human rights abuses. Government forces have detained journalists for covering events in Cabo Delgado and subjected civilians suspected of supporting the group to searches, looting, and arbitrary detention. The violence in Cabo Delgado has continued into 2021, causing insecurity and displacement within the province, and displacement to the neighbouring provinces of Niassa and Nampula.?

Since the beginning of 2020, the number of IDPs in the three provinces has increased from 90,000 to over 500,000. The number of IDPs more than quadrupled from March 2020 (over 110,400) to November 2020 (nearly 530,000) because of the increase in violent attacks and threats of attacks on civilians. An estimated 45% of all IDPs are children. Over 90% of IDPs live with host families. In 2020, increased violations against civilians, including killings, beheadings, and kidnappings, were reported in Cabo Delgado. ? 

Health, WASH, and education services that were already stretched to capacity across Cabo Delgado have also been significantly impacted by the escalating violence. An estimated 1.3 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection in the three provinces in 2021 (around 12% of the provinces’ total population).  ?

Latest Developments


No significant recent humanitarian developments. This crisis is being monitored by our analysis team.

ACAPS' team is daily monitoring the impact of COVID-19. Find more information related to the outbreak here.

Palma attacks


A non-state armed group launched a violent attack on Palma city, Palma district, in Cabo Delgado province on 24 March. As at 5 May, military operations were still taking place in some districts of the province.

Following the attacks, an increase in IDPs has been registered in Cabo Delgado, while the security situation remains volatile. Some IDPs are hosted by relatives and friends or are staying in displacement camps. As at 5 May, 39,086 people had been displaced from Palma district; 80% of them are living within host communities, and 20% are hosted in 26 displacement sites across four districts in Cabo Delgado province (Nangade, Mueda, Montepuez, and Pemba). Over 1,000 people tried to cross the border to Tanzania and were forcibly returned to Mozambique. Humanitarian evacuations from Palma by air and sea have been temporarily suspended since 2 April, pending further clearance by authorities. Roads are not safe, as the armed group is targeting civilians.

Those who remained in Palma district are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. IDPs need access to basic items and services. Health concerns are increasing, with several districts reporting a cholera outbreak (Pemba, Metuge, Montepuez, Chiúre, and Ancuabe) and 82 active cases of COVID-19 reported in the province. Psychological support for displaced individuals, family separation, and unaccompanied minors is also needed.?

Key Priorities


Protection: Continued and increasing levels of conflict and displacement have resulted in protection needs. Overcrowding in shelters and a lack of livelihood opportunities increase the risk of sexual exploitation and abuse. Women and girls are at particular risk of kidnapping, rape, forced marriage, and forced prostitution.? 

WASH: WASH needs are urgent in Macimboa da Praia, Macomia, and Ibo where IDPs have insufficient potable water and latrines. Since the end of January a cholera outbreak was declared in five districts with 960 cases and 15 deaths as of May 2020.?

Health: 36% of health facilities in Cabo Delgado have been damaged or destroyed as a result of the conflict. This has reduced the capacity to detect and respond to disease outbreaks, including cholera, measles, and COVID-19. At least 1.2 million people have limited access to healthcare, including HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis treatment. There is a need to ensure the continuity of sexual and reproductive health services, as well as gender-based violence prevention and response services. ?

Food security: Escalating violence and displacement have worsened the food security situation in affected areas. As at December 2020, it was estimated that over 900,000 people in Cabo Delgado, Niassa, and Nampula provinces were facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) levels of food insecurity. With limited supplies reaching markets and being sold, the cost of food and household items has increased rapidly.?