A view over the village of Ngomashi, four hours trek over mountains and through thick bush from the end of the nearest road, Aug 14, 2014.
A view over the village of Ngomashi, a four-hour trek over mountains and through thick bush from the end of the nearest road, Aug 14, 2014.Phil Moore
A view over the village of Ngomashi, four hours trek over mountains and through thick bush from the end of the nearest road, Aug 14, 2014.
Porters for a Doctors Without Borders vaccination campaign carry sacks containing vaccination equipment over a bamboo and vine bridge crossing a river between the villages of Kishee and Katanga, Aug 13, 2014.
A United Nations helicopter flies over make-shift house in a camp for internally displaced persons in the town of Nyabiondo, July 21, 2014.
Children sit on the branches of a tree in the village of Kishee. Aug 12, 2014.
A displaced Congolese man rebuilds his makeshift shelter from sticks and volcanic rock in the Bulengo site for the internally displaced. Many of the original huts here were covered with grasses for the roofing, and many now have tarpaulin sheeting, which still provides only scant cover against the cold and the rain in the harsh environment of the camp, July 15, 2014.
A displaced Congolese man washes clothes in a basin, amidst a sea of makeshift shelters in the Bulengo site for the internally displaced. Tens of thousands of people have fled conflict to the improvised camp, sheltered by only tarpaulin sheets in a very harsh environment, July 16, 2014.
Displaced Congolese work as seamstresses in the small market of the Bulengo displacement site. When fleeing conflict, people take only what they can carry, but sewing machines can provide a vital source of income when arriving in camps such as Bulengo, July 14, 2014.
A displaced Congolese child stands with a basin on her head in the Bulengo site for internally displaced persons, July 14, 2014.
Ladies wash clothes in the river flowing through the town of Nyabiondo in eastern Congo, July 23, 2014.
Congolese children stand on the outskirts of Nyabiondo. The town was the scene of heavy fighting earlier this year as government forces battled with APCLS rebels, causing much of the population to flee into the surrounding forest, July 21, 2014.
People shelter from a rainstorm in the dilapidated classroom of a basic school in Nyabiondo, July 21, 2014.
People leave a school classroom having sheltered from the rain in the town of Nyabiondo. Nyabiondo was the scene of heavy fighting earlier this year as government forces battled with APCLS rebels, causing much of the population to flee into the surrounding forest, July 21, 2014.
Barabesha Fitumukiza sits with his son, Prince (2 years old), who is suffering from malnutrition. Prince is being treated during a weekly visit by Doctors Without Borders to Katovu, next to a camp for 15,000 people that sprung up last February due to conflict between armed groups, July 25, 2014.
A child is given a polio vaccination in the village of Kitobo II during a visit by Doctors Without Borders. Many children here have never received any kind of vaccination and the community receives few government services, lying in the heart of territory controlled by one of the myriad armed groups in North Kivu province, Aug 8, 2014.
A lady collects water at the Masisi General Reference Hospital, July 24, 2014.
A mother lays next to her child who is suffering from malaria in the Nyabiondo health centre. Staff here say they are dealing with an epidemic of malaria. Few people have mosquito nets, and malaria outbreaks are exacerbated when people flee to the forest during times of conflict, July 21, 2014.
A mother lays next to her child who is suffering from malaria in the health centre in Nyabiondo. Staff at the health centre say they are dealing with an epidemic of malaria. Few people have mosquito nets, July 21, 2014.
Fifi Bahati (33), a displaced Congolese lady, carries her child through the Birere I displacement camp in the town of Nyabiondo. "It was war that made me leave Kinyumba to come here" says Fifi, a mother of four. "We want to go home, but until peace is reestablished, we can't go back.", July 21, 2014.
A view over the village of Ngomashi, a four-hour trek over mountains and through thick bush from the end of the nearest
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Phil Moore
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See the Real Impact of War in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Sep 30, 2014

The slow burn of war has long ravaged the heart of Africa. Millions of people in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the largest member in a neighborhood wracked by upheaval, have died from prolonged insecurity, disease and hunger. Regional strife and internal power grabs between the government and armed groups have kept tensions high, control in some areas fluid and many people poor despite its mineral-rich east.

Most news coverage in recent years has revolved around M23, a group that formed in 2012 after rebels accused the government of failing to honor a peace treaty in March 2009. The mutiny in 2012 was followed by the signing of a long-awaited peace deal last December.

British photojournalist Phil Moore has spent much of the last three years covering the causes and effects of the unrest, often making powerful images while chasing daily stories that would briefly highlight Congo’s plight in such an overcrowded news cycle. That, in part, motivated his return.

Going through his work last year, he felt his focus had been too narrow, Moore tells TIME during a call from Goma, his voice often cutting in and out due to a poor mobile connection. It goes deep in regards to the immediate effects of the day’s fighting and displacement but stopped short of anything long-term: “There is very little of what people’s lives were like in these areas.”

Now, he is beginning to move his lens from active fighting to the larger theme of the impact of war on society. Through indicators such as the shifting of front lines, dispersal or lack of aid, state corruption, sexual violence and insufficient services, he aims to capture what the innocents endure and how they cope — and survive.

When he first returned with this focus in July, his priority was to start making contacts so he could see the issues first-hand. “I tend to come with vague ideas of what I want to do,” he says. “If I already know the issues when I come here, they’re already covered,” he continues. “I’m trying to tell the parts of the story that haven’t been told.”

That has meant spending more time in one location — four days in a displacement camp, rather than one — as well as talking to more people before he began shooting and taking more pictures without people than he normally would in order to show what’s not there, or what should be there.

Most of his work has focused on two areas. In Masisi territory, northwest of Goma, issues like ethnic identity and land ownership spring up, but his pictures have largely dealt with isolation and its effects, such as a lack of medical care and the role of insecurity in preventing access to what is actually available. In one instance, he recalls, “as the road faded out, so did the presence of the army, and that's when it drifted into the hands of other armed groups."

That’s a change from how Moore has covered news, generally sticking to where he could drive or walk a few hours, which proved limiting. “I didn't feel I could just disappear off for a few days to find out what was going on in these remote places," he says. "And it is precisely these remote places that are typical of much of the population, and where the greatest challenges exist.”

Moore has also spent time in the Bulengo camp for internally displaced persons, near Goma. His theme there has closely revolved around survival with so little. Some aid trickles in, he says, but not everyone receives assistance. Most people there came from Masisi territory, where they grew their own food but now “have nothing.”

Moore isn't sure how this work will develop. He stresses these pictures are not meant to be representative of Congo as a whole — rather, just one small part of a giant country — and that his overall aim is to elaborate on what makes the news and then give it context. That’s already a daunting task, given so little attention is spared for news out of Africa, but the possibility of achieving it exemplifies what attracts him to photojournalism: the "giant learning curve."

Phil Moore is an independent British photographer based in Nairobi, Kenya

Andrew Katz is a homepage editor at TIME and reporter covering international affairs. Follow him on Twitter @katz and Instagram @katzandrew

Mikko Takkunen, who edited this photo essay, is an Associate Photo Editor at TIME.com.

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