• 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

  • 2,333,000 People affected [?]
  • 732,000 People displaced [?]
  • 551 Fatalities reported [?]



In October 2017, an Islamic extremist armed group started launching aggressive attacks on civilians in the northern province of Cabo Delgado. The attacks have continued into 2021, causing insecurity and displacement within the province and displacement to the neighbouring provinces of Niassa and Nampula. The armed group, known as Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama, is involved in an increasing number of violent incidents, including incessant attacks on civilians, government forces, and military installations. Their activities are concentrated on the coast of Cabo Delgado, spanning from Pemba city to the Tanzanian border. The Government’s response to these attacks 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 armed group to searches, looting, and arbitrary detention.?

Between April 2020 and April 2021, the number of IDPs in the three provinces more than quadrupled, from 172,000 to over 732,000. Around 45% of all IDPs were children, and over 90% of the displaced lived with host families. Since 2020, increased violations against civilians, including killings, beheadings, and kidnappings, have been reported in Cabo Delgado. Between January–June 2021, more than 9,600 people who sought refuge in Tanzania had to return to Mozambique through the Negomano border point in Mueda district. ? 

There is an urgent need for food, shelter, health, and protection. An estimated 1.3 million people in the three provinces (around 12% of the total regional population) need humanitarian assistance and protection.  ?

Latest Developments


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

Humanitarian Access



The violent insurgency in Cabo Delgado province, which extended to Palma district in March 2021, continues to increasingly obstruct the effective delivery of and access to humanitarian aid in the province. Conflict-related displacement is recorded both within Cabo Delgado and across the Tanzanian border, threatening regional security and the stability of humanitarian access. Travelling within the province to seek humanitarian assistance is a life-threatening endeavour. Even when aid is delivered, it is sometimes distributed unevenly depending on who is in charge. The processing of visas for foreign aid workers by the Government is often delayed by several months, which slows down the efforts of humanitarian organisations. An additional challenge to access is the general lack of accurate information regarding where and to what extent humanitarian aid is needed, particularly in Cabo Delgado. Some areas in northern Mozambique were already considered remote areas, and the conflict in Cabo Delgado has further deteriorated existing public infrastructure.


Palma attacks


On 24 March, a nonstate armed group launched a violent attack on Palma city, Palma district, in Cabo Delgado province. By June, military operations were still taking place in some districts of the province. The security situation remains volatile. ?

Following the attacks, the number of IDPs in Cabo Delgado has increased. IDPs were hosted by relatives or friends or stayed in displacement camps. As at 13 July, nearly 104,635 people were displaced from Palma district; 77% lived within host communities, and 23% resided in one of the 29 displacement sites across Cabo Delgado (in Ancuabe, Chiure, Metuge, Montepuez, Mueda, Nangade, and Pemba districts). As at 2 April, authorities have suspended humanitarian evacuations by air from Palma (pending further clearance). As a result of the suspension, the armed group targets civilians who try to flee to other areas by road or sea. ?

Those who remain in Palma district urgently need humanitarian assistance. IDPs need access to food, shelter, and health services. There is also a need for psychological support for displaced individuals, separated families, and unaccompanied minors.?

Key Priorities


Shelter/NFIs: As at June 2021, at least 125,774 IDPs were living in 34 displacement sites across eight districts in Cabo Delgado. In nearly 30% of the sites, IDPs have not received shelter assistance. Almost 10,000 IDPs, primarily in Metuge district, do not have access to emergency shelters and are sleeping outdoors. IDPs also urgently need blankets, clothes, and mosquito nets. ?

Food security: Escalating violence and displacement have worsened the food security situation in affected areas. As at July 2021, over 228,000 people in Cabo Delgado face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) levels of food insecurity. At least 75,000 children are suffering from or at risk of acute malnutrition. ?

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.? 

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. ?