|Environmental Impact of Sudden Population Displacements - Expert Consultation on Priority Policy Issues and Humanitarian Aid (European Commission Humanitarian Office, 1995, 28 p.)|
|4. CASE STUDIES (SUMMARIES)|
The RESCUE programme is an integrated environmental intervention, including stove dissemination, household afforestation, green-belt afforestation, and awareness building and training. The programme started after the emergency or influx phase had ended. It addressed deforestation problems in and around the Somali camps of Hagadera, Dagahaley, and Ifo. The local population in these areas is only about 5,000 to 10,000, or about one local per every ten refugees. Four main problems faced by the displaced were identified as: (i) the displaced peoples had to travel increasing distances for firewood; (ii) as wood became scarce, greenwood was increasingly cut; (iii) sexual violence against women in search of fuelwood became prevalent; (iv) resource related conflicts with the local population erupted.
The main lessons learned from the project were:
· taking a developmental approach in emergencies, and making an appraisal of needs in this light is critical;
· equal treatment needs to be given to camp and local populations;
· the sustainability of afforestation efforts will remain limited as long as the ownership question is not resolved;
· the impact of introducing fabrication of simple technology fuel efficient stoves will remain limited as long as training in the making of these stoves is limited. Introducing simple technology does not mean that simple training is sufficient;
· much fuel is consumed by small scale businesses, but these are rarely considered in fuel saving initiatives.
General recommendations included (i) displaced and local populations consider the environment as a resource base. When planning environmental interventions, we need to focus on the livelihood environment; (ii) the factors that determine the livelihood environment, intervene prior to the issues of household energy consumption and deforestation. The livelihood environment is determined largely by settlement strategies and the activities that seek to tackle environmental health questions; (iii) the return situation has to be part of the planning of all activities from the beginning.
Specific recommendations as related to the emergency phase were as follows: (i) shelter costs wood. This needs to be included in planning relief interventions, through the provision of alternative building materials, warm blankets, etc.; (ii) certain foods require more fuel for preparation than others. In addition to providing fuel cost-efficient foods in relief, milling facilities should be included as a relief item; (iii) mass training in energy saving methods should be implemented early in the emergency phase; (iv) wood cutting areas should be decentralised, then fuel efficient stoves should be provided.