Press Release – Montreal, April 21, 2022 – For nearly two months, the war in Ukraine has been in the media spotlight. A critical concern, but one that runs the risk of overshadowing the distress experienced elsewhere in the world.
“The global shock of the Russian army’s invasion of Ukraine has affected us all deeply,” says Marie-Claude Lalonde, Director of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) Canada. “Yet, all over the world, attacks and conflicts equally degrading to human dignity are still taking place. One such tragic example is Mozambique.”
It is estimated that the north-eastern region of the country (and particularly the province of Cabo Delgado) has been the target of jihadist attacks more than 900 times since 2017. Death, insecurity, and fear are now very real for over 800,000 people. “One of the people being supported by the local church told Aid to the Church in Need on camera how his son died, beheaded by jihadists just a few blocks from his home. This father is devastated and without the presence of the Church at his side, he might very well have taken his own life,” explains Marie-Claude Lalonde.
These attacks started for no apparent reason, but many now believe that they are linked to a battle over territory as this region is rich in natural resources, notwithstanding its natural disasters. The region has been hit by unprecedented tropical storms for three years. Tropical Storm Ana, which hit Mozambique on January 24th, was accompanied by wind gusts of up to 120 km per hour and torrential rains that caused severe flooding.
“There are immense needs in one of the poorest countries on the African continent,” says Ms. Lalonde. “For the past three years, many farmers have been unable to cultivate their plots of land, which have been torn up by terrorist groups or flooded by successive storms.”
For more than two years now, Aid to the Church in Need has been supporting hundreds of displaced families with food, health services, hygiene products, and seeds. The international charity also provides spiritual and psychosocial assistance to those experiencing trauma. “We must continue to support them, because without us, they literally have nothing.”
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