It is a precarious existence. One young mum tearfully confides in us that she sells a portion of her food rations - rice, lentils and oil - to buy fuel to enable her to cook what remains. Her survival depends on impossible choices that no one should ever be forced to make.
Humanitarian relief agencies like Concern Worldwide also face many challenges. The infrastructure is basic. Access by road to distant camps is difficult, and houses built on steep hillsides are only reachable by foot across makeshift bridges and up hand-dug steps reinforced with bamboo and sand bags.
Buildings are also vulnerable to the wind and rain. After our heartbreaking family visit, we walk downhill to one of Concern’s eight nutrition outpatient centres which is being rebuilt a few metres away from the original because of flooding. Standards are important to Concern so it is vital that our buildings are safe and secure if our work to screen and treat malnourished children is to continue. The roofs of other nutrition centres on higher ground have to be routinely tied down with rope to withstand damaging monsoon storms.
In this challenging environment, the local government and agencies are providing the essentials - shelter, food and nutrition support, clean water, sanitation and hygiene, protection and health care. But more than that, they are also helping to ‘normalise’ life for those displaced.