This paper examines the nutritional status and mortality of refugee and resident children in a non-camp setting during the war in Guinea-Bissau. Subjects included 422 children aged 9-23 months in 30 clusters. Results showed that, during the refugee situation, all the children deteriorated nutritionally and mortality was high (3.0% in a 6-week period). Rice consumption was higher in families residing in Prabis than in refugees from Guinea-Bissau, but there was no difference in food expenditure. Nutritional status, measured by mid-upper-arm circumference, was not associated with rice consumption levels in the family, and the decline in circumference was significantly worse for resident than for refugee children; the mid-upper-arm circumference increased faster than that of resident children. For resident children, mortality was 4.5 times higher than for refugee children. Mortality for both resident and refugee children was 7.2 times higher during the refugee's stay in Prabis compared with the period after the departure of the refugees. Finally, major improvements in nutritional status and reduction in mortality occurred in resident and refugee children as soon as refugees returned home despite the fact that there were no improvements in food availability.