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“We still do not know the full impact that the deadly militant attack in Palma, northern Mozambique, has had on children, but we fear that it will be brutal.

“Palma was already hosting well over 35,000 people forcibly displaced from other areas of the province due to previous attacks. Half of them are children. The district has been cut off by road due to insecurity for the past months, with minimum supplies and assistance provided by air and sea. Until small amounts of food and other supplies started coming in recently, much of the district beyond the provincial capital had been virtually inaccessible to humanitarian workers struggling to provide assistance. As of today, the three remaining functional health facilities are no longer operational and the main hospital has been destroyed.

“What is happening to children in Palma is catastrophic. Children across Cabo Delgado province must be protected and provided with lifesaving assistance – especially the 350,000 children who have been displaced by armed conflict.

“UNICEF will continue working with partners to meet children’s urgent needs.

“UNICEF calls on all parties to do everything in their power to keep children out of harm’s way, to protect aid workers, and to enable rapid, unimpeded and sustained access to civilians in need of assistance.”