Christmas in the refugee camps in Northern Mozambique, where the greatest gift is the hope for peace.Mozambiquerefugees Peace
Christmas with the refugees in Mozambique: among those people who have been settled in the country for years and among internally displaced people, fleeing from the north due to the terrorist violence in the recent months.
The people who fled from Kivu and Burundi have been living in the Maratane Camp, Nampula, for about 10 years. They were in search of a peaceful place to live, even if in conditions of extreme poverty. The Community has built up a friendship with them through constant help over the years, renewed at Christmas.
Much more serious is the plight of refugees fleeing the violence and cruelty in the north of Mozambique. About half a million of displaced people have had to leave their poor villages, which were attacked by men armed mostly with machetes. Despite still living in precarious places, people say that they can finally sleep because they are not afraid of the attacks during the night. They have often escaped without anything, through the thick forests of the north or on small boats, along one of the most beautiful coastlines of the Indian Ocean, which has now turned into hell for many people.
They are scattered in different regions of the country. Only in the city of Pemba - capital of the Cabo Delgado region, that has been the most affected by the violence - which at the last census recorded just over 200,000 inhabitants, there are now estimated to be 100,000 displaced people
They live in very precarious conditions: some under improvised tents, others housed in overcrowded houses - up to 30-40 people in a few rooms, others have found hospitality in a center set up to receive refugees from Cyclone Idai.
During this Christmas, the Communities of Sant'Egidio went to six different towns hosting refugees: Pemba, Namialo, Marrupa, Lichinga, Savane, and Alto Molocue.
They visited different families by bringing food supplies and gifts. This is the symbol of a tenacious friendship that does not stop and does not abandon anyone. Moreover, they collected the request for the most precious gift, which many men and women at the end of the visit entrusted to the prayer and love of the Community: the hope that peace will come soon.