Firewood  use in refugee camps becoming threat to environment

09Feb 2019
Getrude Mbago
The Guardian
Firewood  use in refugee camps becoming threat to environment

USE of firewood as source of energy in refugee camps is now becoming a huge threat to environment thus needing immediate and collective efforts to find alternative solutions to overcome the issue, a senior government official has said.

Speaking yesterday here when the United Nations  High Commissioner For Refugees Fillipo Grandi visited Nyarugusu Camp in Kasulu District, the acting director for refugee services from the Ministry of Home Affairs Numbilya Mpolo said that alternative source of energy in refugees camps was much needed now more than ever.

To address the challenge, the United Nations UNHCR High Commissioner  expressed the organisation’s commitment to mobilise efforts to rescue forests which had been highly affected in the three camps of Tanzania.

He said that UNHCR is going to work together with the government and host communities to address the matter.

Grandi cited distribution of fuel or gas efficient stoves for cooking as one of the means as and an effective solution to the challenge.

“Reducing the amount of firewood needed in refugee camps can have   great impacts on the local environment, so our priority for now will be addressing the issue,” he said.

For his part, Nyarugusu refugee camp commandant Jummanne Singani said that finding environmentally- friendly cooking energy at the camp will also protect refugee women and girls, who, according to UNHCR, spend up to 10km daily collecting firewood outside the camps.

“So UNHCR and the government should sit and find lasting  solution of the challenge,”  he said.

Kasulu District Commissioner Canal Simon Anange commended UNHCR for its continued support to refugees and the host communities assuring of full government support in all the projects to ensure safe stay of refugees and asylum seekers in the country.

Mellah Gervas, the 58-year-old Burundian  refugee living in Nyarugusu camp said walking long distances outside the camp to fetch firewood was also threat to their security.

“I am calling for the authorities to help us on this. I have heard they will buy gas stoves, this will help us spend less time searching for firewood,"  she added.

The UNHCR High Commissioner who is in the country for his four-day visit also met President John Magufuli to convey UNHCR’s appreciation for the government's longstanding generosity towards those fleeing conflict and persecution, welcome their commitment to the Global Compact on Refugees, confirm the country’s commitment to refugee protection.

UNHCR’s support to finding durable solutions for the over 330,000 refugees currently living in Tanzania.





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