Local populations live in extreme poverty. They are prevented from carrying out their farming and commercial activities. In Kiwanja and central Rutshuru, for example, the inhabitants depend exclusively on humanitarian aid for their survival.
In the town of Rutshuru, most commercial activities are paralysed. There are neither schools nor markets. Shops and commercial enterprises have been looted by armed combatants. Because of the growing insecurity, farmers fear working in their fields.
Rutshuru which connects the town of Goma to Beni and Butembo in the northern section of the province, is experiencing a severe economic crisis. Road transport fares have more than doubled or tripled depending on the type of vehicle used. Travelling between Goma and Kiwanja by mini-bus now costs 10 dollars, compared with 3 dollars just three weeks ago. For the same trip by lorry, fares have gone up from 2 to 5 dollars. As a result, road traffic has reduced significantly.
Only a few traders still lay out some basic food products to sell in front of their homes. All say the situation is unbearable. The only thing everyone wants is for peace to be restored so "people can take care of themselves".