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UNHCR calls for joint action plan to power refugee camps

THE provision of alternative sources of energy for refugee and host communities requires multi-stakeholder engagement, including humanitarians, development partners, government entities, the private sector and the donor community.

Currently, energy challenges though may be known to stakeholders, a collaborative joint action plan has not been developed yet.

This was said in Dar es Salaam yesterday by UNHCR energy specialist Emmanuel Biririza during a stakeholders’ consultative dialogue-energy intervention for humanitarian setting in Tanzania.

Mr Biririza said for each stakeholder to take part in the provision of solutions and raising awareness about the magnitude of the problem was crucial. “Camp operations require substantial use of electricity.

Predominantly, diesel generators are used to supply electricity to most of the services in camps, which include, among others, health and water supply facilities,” said Mr Biririza.

“In response to a firewood crisis in the camps, UNHCR has been implementing various programmes, including the provision of alternative cooking solutions like gas and briquettes.”

Expounding on this he said there had also been some efforts from dependence on diesel generators to rely more on solar hybrid options.

Despite the efforts, he said the challenge of providing alternative sources of energy for refugee and host communities was still pertinent due to insufficient financing to address energy issues, including cooking, power and lighting.

Kiasi Limited Marketing and Sales Manager Grayson Kavumo said their company was willing to work with UNHCR and other stakeholders in finding a solution to the cooking energy problem in refugee community.

The Oryx Gas representative said it was up to stakeholders to support refugees as it was possible for them to explore several avenues on better ways to support them.

The government of Tanzania has on various occasions expressed its concern for deforestation and environmental degradation in refugee hosting areas.

The UNHCR High Commissioner during his tour of the country in February 2019, committed to continuing advocating funding for the energy and environmental activities.

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Author: HILDA MHAGAMA

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