The National CP AoR in Mozambique is being guided by the National Protection Cluster ToR where CP and GBV have been incorporated and meetings are held jointly. In 2019, two field AoR were activated in Beira (Sofala Province) and Pemba (Cabo Delgado Province), responding to cyclone Kenneth and Idai. For 2020, while the field AoR in Sofala is being de-activated and transitioning to government leadership, the response is still on going for the armed conflict situation in Cabo Delgado and for the Covid-19 pandemic.
Prior to the devastation caused by Cyclones Idai and Kenneth, Mozambique was affected by the residual impact of the 2016/2017 drought and from a poor performance of the January-March 2019 rainy season which in turn caused substantial agricultural losses, with lingering effects expected to last until the next main harvest in 2020. In particular, Cyclone Idai destroyed farming land and food storages in the provinces of Zambezia, Sofala, Manica and Tete which normally contribute between 40 and 50 percent of the national cereal output. Food prices have increased and food insecurity continues to pose a serious protection risk in Mozambique, as families resort to negative coping strategies such as skipping meals, child labour and early child marriage.
In March 2019, Tropical Cyclone Idai unleashed strong winds and torrential rain across the provinces of Sofala, Manica, Zambezia, Tete and Inhambane, leading to the loss of at least 602 lives. Nearly 110,000 houses were fully destroyed and more than 146,000 people were displaced. Widespread destruction and disruption of essential services, markets and livelihoods continue to cause serious and ongoing protection concerns to the affected population. The following month, on 25 April 2019, Cyclone Kenneth made landfall in Cabo Delgado, with heavy winds and rains affecting several coastal areas. According to the National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC), a total of 45 deaths and 91 injuries were reported and 254,750 people were affected by the cyclone. The districts of Pemba, Metuge, Quissanga, Macomia and Ibo in Cabo Delgado were most affected, due to compounded effects of pre-existing vulnerabilities caused by insurgency movements in the area since October 2017 which were exacerbated by Cyclone Kenneth. For people in villages previously impacted by violence, Cyclone Kenneth represented a crisis on top of a crisis.
In Cabo Delgado, it is estimated that approximately 60,000 people have been affected and/or displaced by insecurity and over 200 attacks on villages by armed groups and clashes between security forces and armed groups have taken place since October 2017. Community resilience in northern Mozambique is negatively impacted by extreme poverty, instability and limited access to quality services. The growing humanitarian needs are not easily addressed due to a lack of qualified staff with experience on protection in emergencies, conflict sensitivity, and the inaccessibility of many affected areas - both the islands, due to tides, and areas on the mainland due to insecurity and damaged infrastructure.
The impact of the cyclones, combined with pre-existing vulnerabilities (such as extreme poverty and harmful social and gender norms), weak social welfare and justice sectors, the absence of protective services at the village level and an overall lack of resources are all exacerbating factors that further heighten the vulnerability of children; women and girls, including pregnant and lactating women and adolescent girls; women and children heading households; persons with disabilities, including persons with albinism; older persons and persons living with HIV/AIDS, exposing them to protection risks such as violence, trafficking, exploitation, abuse and neglect; sexual and gender-based violence; sexual exploitation and abuse; child labour and child early forced marriage; as well as exclusion and discrimination related to lack of documentation, land and property rights.
According to the Secondary Data Review conducted by the Child Protection Area of Responsibility, sexual violence and exploitation are “one of the most recurrent forms of violence” with child marriage, exchanging sex for grades and money, harmful sexual initiation rights and accessing basic services putting girls at great risk. Additionally, “Reported cases of domestic violence are on the rise and disproportionately involve girls. Sexual and gender-based violence is met with an inadequate response due to a lack of qualified protection professionals, ill-defined procedures and other institutional weaknesses.”
Protection strategy aims at: