The violence here has added to the malnutrition. It's hard to believe that anyone could be hungry in North Kivu. It's incredibly green and lush and the almost constant rain means that the land is very fertile. But people are hungry. Those that have not fled the violence are often too scared to go to their fields to farm. And those that are displaced and are living in camps or host families are simply not receiving enough food. The roads from Goma to Masisi are terrible and trucks with supplies regularly get stuck in the mud and can be looted.
Children are most at risk. Another NGO runs a feeding centre for kids that are severely malnourished at the hospital so MSF has opened another centre that focuses on kids that are moderately malnourished. Mothers wait patiently for their children to be weighed and measured, seemingly oblivious to the screams of terror that their offspring let out when put into a harness and hung from a set of scales attached to the ceiling.
In the afternoon Philippe, the project coordinator, takes us to the displaced people's camp in Masisi town. The camp grew when young students and their teachers fled to Masisi, so that they wouldn't be forced to fight in the war here. Since then more people have arrived and built tiny shelters from sticks and plastic sheeting provided by MSF. It's hard to imagine how anyone could live in such cramped, basic conditions let alone that people would choose to do so.