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Archdiocese of Nampula Embarks on Housing Project for Displaced People in Mozambique

A mother and her child inside a doorless house in the Catholic Archdiocese of Nampula/ Credit: Denis Hurley Peace Institute

The Catholic Archdiocese of Nampula located in North-eastern Mozambique has commenced the construction of houses with a hope to resettle thousands of displaced people currently being hosted by the Archdiocese.

An official of the Catholic Peace organization Denis Hurley Peace Institute (DHPI) has told ACI Africa that over 60,000 displaced persons from Cabo Delgado in Northern Mozambique are currently living in Nampula Province, and that with many more arriving daily, the lack of housing and food is critical.

Narrating the current situation of the displaced people, an official of DHPI says, “Some IDPs sleep under straw shelters.”

The Archdiocese of Nampula, through Caritas Nampula and with support from DHPI of the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC) launched the project to build 200 houses in Corrane, one of the IDP shelters under the auspices of the Catholic Archdiocese of Nampula.

A total of 3,170 people will benefit from the housing project including those who recently fled from the March attack in Palma, a town under the jurisdiction of the Catholic Diocese of Pemba in the country’s North.

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The DHPI official in Nampula told ACI Africa that in the project funded by CEDES ( Comisão Ecuménica para o Desenvolvimento Social) and other NGOs, each house takes approximately 5 days to be built.

The official says that the IDPs are working on the construction assisted by people from the neighboring host communities. CEDES and the other organizations have started the construction of 300 houses while the Archdiocese of Nampula will cinstruct the other 200 houses.

The organization shares a government-approved prototype of the house that consists of two bedrooms and a living room.

Caritas Nampula is also planning to start delivering food parcels to the refugees in a feeding program aimed at alleviating hunger in the camp. DHPI reported the despair of women in Nampula who are forced to cut grass and feed it to their children for lack of food.

“Regarding our food deliveries, the first one is scheduled for next Wednesday 19th,” the DHPI official who prefers to remain anonymous told ACI Africa on Monday, May 17, adding that the feeding program brings on board the World Food Program.

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“We will deliver the food along with the WFP, so each household receives their food parcels in just one delivery, making it easier for them,” the official says.

Meanwhile, the charity organization says that some of the families in the Corrane reception center have found creative ways to start moving forward despite all adversities.

“They (IDPs) still have a long way to go, but resilience is something you definitely see in them,” the DHPI official says.

The official adds, “The families not only have traumas based on what they saw back home or what they had to endure to get to Nampula, but also because of what they have to face each day, living in a place where they depend on whatever food they are giving, where jobs are a scarce commodity, and their children’s education is not at all what any kid should be getting.”

In an update on May 17 on the situation in Cabo Delgado, the Director of DHPI, Johan Viljoen told ACI Africa that refugees and internally displaced people at the Quitanda camp in Afungi, near the defunct Total plant in Palma, are being held against their will.

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“The inhabitants say the military manning the camp is refusing to let them go, and is using them pre-emptively as human shields against potential attacks by insurgents, which are predicted to pick up again now that the holy month of Ramadan is over,” Mr. Viljoen said.

He added, “The military is also not allowing humanitarian aid and workers into the camp, and agencies like the UN and World Food are refusing to send food aid to the camp because the army is refusing them entry, and as such they have no way of overseeing the food distribution.”

The situation, the DHPI official says, has left the inhabitants destitute, because they relied entirely on the donations coming into the camp.

Mr. Viljoen says that Mozambican army generals who he says have been long suspected of aiding and abetting illegal activities “are again embroiled in scandal.”

“Some army generals are now being accused of conspiring with Chinese poachers who are stripping forests of wood,” the official of the peace organization that is monitoring the evolution of the Mozambican crisis says in the Monday, May 17 report.

He adds, “This comes on the back of rumors abounding about the recent looting of banks in Palma during the attacks of 27 March 2021.”

He says that residents in Palma are accusing the army’s officers and generals of playing active roles in the looting and of involvement with the raiding of the banks in Mocimboa de Praia, Macomia and Palma in Cabo Delgado.

The people base their allegations on the way the attacks were well coordinated when compared to the other activities by insurgents, the DHPI Director says.