A humanitarian crisis is looming in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province amid reports that thousands of people are fleeing jihadist attacks in the region’s besieged Palma town, which is home to a multi-billion-dollar gas project being developed by a consortium led by French oil and gas major Total.
According to media reports monitored here, between 6,000 and 10,000 people had fled by boat from Palma between March 24 and Monday.
Humanitarian agencies said the fleeing people have been arriving in large numbers in the provincial capital Pemba where they are waiting to be evacuated to safety.
Insurgents aligned to a militant group that calls itself Al Shabab raided Palma last Wednesday, killing dozens of people.
UN agencies are frantically trying to coordinate the evacuation and humanitarian aid for the new arrivals in Pemba.
Pemba is already packed with hundreds of thousands of other people displaced by the Islamist insurgency, which has displaced about 700,000 from their homes in the province.