Mozambique: MSF Suspends Medical Support After Healthcare Centre Is Damaged Due To Recent Attacks

Burned out and pillaged shops on the Macomia main street after the attack by an armed group on May 28, 2020.
press release

Our Doctors Without Borders (MSF) teams have been forced to suspend medical support in Macomia in the northern region of Mozambique following a recent attack on the village that also resulted in the destruction of our healthcare centre.

An armed group attacked the village of Macomia on May 28 in the early morning hours. As insurgents entered the town, the population fled into the bush and to neighboring villages.  The group set fire to homes, shops, schools, religious and government buildings.  The Health Centre where Doctors Without Borders (MSF) provides medical support, located near those buildings and military barracks, was severely damaged.

“MSF had 27 staff supporting the Macomia Health Center.  They hid in the bush for nearly two days terrified to come out.  Thankfully no one was injured and today everyone is accounted for,” confirmed MSF Head of Mission Caroline Gaudron Rose.  “This attack and those before it have forced thousands to flee.  Our ability to reach those in need is jeopardised by this increase in violence and with the destruction of the Health Centre.”

Thousands fled the northern town, hiding in the bush for nearly two days.

After years of violent episodes, Cabo Delgado has seen a surge in attacks since March.  These assaults have decimated villages and terrified local people.  Macomia was already home to thousands of displaced people from previous attacks and the number of those forced to leave their homes in Cabo Delgado is growing.

“There are still thousands of displaced people who are hiding in the bush, too scared to go back to their villages.  They are terrified of the ongoing violence,” said Gaudron Rose.  “The situation could be extremely dire for those who were forced to flee from Macomia and other villages - without shelter, clean water and access to medical care, they are extremely vulnerable.”

The Health Center where MSF worked was burned, further jeopardizing the populations’ access to medical care in Cabo Del Gado Province.

Access to the northern region of Mozambique has become more difficult since violence erupted in late 2017.  However, humanitarian assistance is crucial for the displaced population already suffering from malaria and cholera outbreaks and little access to HIV and TB care.  These medical conditions are compounded by the violence in the province.

MSF has worked  in Mozambique since 1984.  In the city of Pemba, our teams are supporting health authorities in improving access to water and sanitation as well as responding to possible outbreaks of diarrhea and cholera. MSF is also present in Maputo and Beira providing care to people with advanced HIV, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis and vulnerable populations.  Across all projects, MSF is supporting the Mozambique Ministry of Health in its response to COVID through the implementation of preventative measures including infection control, triage and surveillance.

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