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When hunger strikes: Nyunzu, Democratic Republic of the Congo

28 Apr 2021

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Anita, a mother of six, walks towards the trader who has just laid out a dozen small fish caught in the river near the town of Nyunzu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Anita is observing other women who, in the shade of a mango tree, are haggling over the price of 10 small fish: US$1, or 2,000 Congolese francs. Few women will be able to afford them; after several months of travelling, the women have returned home without a penny.

Soaring food prices caused by a shortage of agricultural products make it impossible to obtain basic food.

In January 2020, when communal violence broke out in her village, Anita had to move to Nyunzu. She explains: “I was in the fields when I heard people shouting from everywhere, telling us to flee. I quickly went back to the village to get my children. We left for the bush." At that time Anita was in the final stages of her pregnancy, and she gave birth to her twins on the road.

She adds: "I had them with difficulty. The health centres were no longer functional. The women I met in the bush helped me to give birth. My first son came at 10 p.m., while the other arrived the next day at 6 a.m. It was really painful."

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