Driven by humanitarian needs rather than political and security ones, the European Union (EU) activated its air bridge to provide 15 tons of “lifesaving cargo” to northern Mozambique.
A communique issued by the northern hemisphere bloc has it the air bridge was brought into action on the margins of the recent G20 Ministerial gathering in Brindisi, Italy. Ahead of the flight, EU Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič said the EU funded humanitarian air bridge flight would bring vital aid to this hard to reach part of Mozambique (Cabo Delgado).
The flight was expected to arrive in Pemba early in July with two further flights carrying additional humanitarian aid expected to depart Brindisi in the coming days.
Since the beginning of 2021, the EU mobilised over €17 million in humanitarian funding for Mozambique, mainly to address the consequences of ongoing internal conflict, according to the communique. EU aid helps ease the suffering of affected populations including those internally displaced people, provides education for children, while preparing communities to deal with natural disasters.
According to the EU: “The humanitarian situation in Mozambique, especially in Cabo Delgado, Niassa and Nampula provinces are deteriorating. Nearly two million people face severe food insecurity due to the security situation, drought, and the socio-economic impact of COVID-19. The fragile humanitarian situation in, Cabo Delgado continues to worsen. An escalation of violence displaced over 700 000 people. At least 1.3 million are estimated to require immediate humanitarian assistance and protection in Cabo Delgado and neighbouring Niassa and Nampula”.
“The EU advocates for greater humanitarian access and removal of obstacles delaying provision of humanitarian assistance. The EU urges all parties to the conflict to comply with international human rights norms and respect international humanitarian law.”
Last year when many countries restricted traffic or closed borders due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the EU humanitarian air bridge facilitated 67 flights to 20 countries in Africa, Asia and the Americas. More than 1 150 tons of medical and humanitarian equipment and 1 700 medical and humanitarian staff and other passengers were transported.