The introduction of use of cooking gas in refugee camps is expected to reduce the rate of deforestation, extreme use of firewood and environmental damage, an official has said.
The initiative was launched early this week by the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR) in partnership with UN Refugee agency (UNHCR).
It was launched by MIDIMAR minister, Debonheur Jeanne d’Arc, and the UNHCR head of field office, Ben Boubacar Diallo, in Nyarushishi transit centre, in Rusizi District.
In an interview with Saturday Times, Veneranda Ingabire, the Single Project Implementation Unit (SPIU) coordinator, said cooking gas was necessary in camps because trees were being cut down leaving the land bare.
She said the pilot initiative worth Rwf 80million will be tried for three months in two transit centres; Kijote and Nyarushishi, which temporarily host Rwandan returnees and at two internment camps hosting and rehabilitating former combatants in Ngoma and Gisovu.
“After three months, we shall be able to know whether the cooking gas project is successful in these four camps so that we can extend it to other camps as well,” Ingabire said. She added that the ministry spends more than Rwf900 million every year to buy firewood.
“The use of firewood in camps mostly affects our forest cover, breeding erosion and other disasters which leaves lives and the environment exposed to destruction,” said Debonheur.
Another initiative the ministry hopes to use to preserve the environment is planting more trees.