Emergency food parcels are being sent by a leading Catholic charity to displaced people in Mozambique struggling for their lives after fleeing Islamic terror.
Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is providing rice, flour, beans, salt and cooking oil as priests and Sisters reach out to more than 360,000 displaced people facing acute hunger in Cabo Delgado, in the north of the country.
The £137,000 (€160,000) project comes amid reports of people escaping mass beheadings by Islamist groups in a region terrorised by Ansar Al Sunnah, militants linked to Daesh (ISIS).
The ACN aid is part of a programme including clean water and sanitation for the displaced families living in camps where there has been an outbreak of cholera and a surge in COVID-19 cases.
ACN Africa projects coordinator Ulrich Kny said: “Almost weekly, new horror stories from Mozambique reach Aid to the Church in Need.
“Largely unnoticed by the international community, the country is suffering one humanitarian catastrophe after another.”
He described on-the-ground reports from Sister Aparecida Ramos Queiroz, who is coordinating the projects in the Diocese of Pemba.
Mr Kny said that, in spite of international relief efforts, there is an acute scarcity of food and rising cases of cholera linked to poor hygiene in the camps.
He said: “The Church in Mozambique is an anchor of hope and charity in a sea of suffering and violence. That is why we have made this country a top priority.”
The food aid comes on top of another ACN project for the region providing trauma counselling.
Mr Kny said Sister Ramos Queiroz had reported widespread attacks on Christian communities, with several churches destroyed completely and that six of the 23 parishes in the Diocese of Pemba are now deserted.
The Sister told Mr Kny that, despite this, a Sister and a priest are working in one of the abandoned villages helping people too poor to flee.
Insisting that others are coming under fire besides Church communities, Mr Kny said: “Both Muslim and Christian institutions are being attacked. We Christians are not the primary target of the insurgents.”