The demand for firewood on average has dropped by 80% per household
The demand for firewood on average has dropped by 80% per household in the Rohingya camps located around the Cox’s Bazar district, a year on from the advent of the refugee crisis in 2017.
Representatives from United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and researchers said this at a discussion program jointly organized by IUCN and East West University in Dhaka on Tuesday.
In line with the objectives of the Global Refugee Compact to ease pressure on host communities, UNHCR and International Organization for Migration (IOM) began providing LPG to local families near the camps.
The combined target is to reach 55,000 host community households. So far, the use of LPG has increased from approximately 7% to over 20% amongst the local community, which in turn has resulted in a 53% reduction in the demand for firewood for use of LPG.
To better understand the impact on people’s lives and the environment, UNHCR and IUCN partnered with the members of the inter-agency Energy and Environment Technical Working Group (EETWG) to carry out this assessment.
Prior to the Rohingya influx, nearly 95,000 tons of firewood was used which was collected either through the market or from local sources. However, following the launching of the LPG distribution program, demand for firewood has dropped to 37,000 tons.
Country Representative of IUCN Raquibul Amin said “The supply of LPG has entirely changed the dynamics of the firewood market.
A recent study revealed that due to the availability of LPG dealers and shops nearby, more and more local community have started using LPG for cooking purposes at homes and in restaurants.
“This will bring long term benefits to the local community and the environment, as alternative energy sources become more accessible and affordable,” he added.
Papa Kysma Sylla, deputy representative of UNHCR Bangladesh said: “Our main mandate is to protect the environment where refugees live. Comfort is needed among both host and Rohingya communities in order to keep the place peaceful.
To make the life peaceful and comfortable UNHCR has launched the LPG distribution program.” “Reforestation is the main challenge,” he added. ye
This initiative has, in turn curbed the destruction of the forestland significantly and more than 300 hectares of land has been reforested in 2019 alone.