UNHCR told to find alternative source of energy for refugees

Garissa Governor Ali Korane now wants United Nation High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to find alternative source of energy for the over 400,000 refugees at the Dadaab camps to reduce the massive environmental destruction.

Korane said that the UN body should forthwith stop issuing licenses to individuals to cut down trees for fuel wood and charcoal burning.

Speaking in Abdisamit, Balambala sub-county over the weekend,Korane said the refugees have left behind a trail of destruction that will take decades to restore.

Yes they are refugees and we have accommodated them as brothers and sisters but that does not mean we allow them to destroy our environment by cutting trees for firewood and charcoal burning, Korane said.

It’s high time we explore alternative means of energy that will not directly destroy the environment, he added.

The Governor said he plans to attend a UN conference in Geneva later in the year to present a strong case where UNHCR will be compelled to come up with alternative sources of energy for the refugees.

The UNHCR must take responsibility for the massive environmental destruction in Dadaab. They must come up with tangible long term and short term measures to restore the environment in Dadaab, he noted.

Early 2018 the host community held demonstrations within Dadaab town as they blamed UNHCR for fueling desertification in the area thereby adversely affecting their sources of livelihood.

The land can longer support the re-growth of pasture because the ground has been laid bare and all the top fertile soil washed away by flash floods and wind erosion, Abdullahi, a pastoralist from the area lamented.

All our grazing grounds can longer support pasture. We are forced to travel outside the county in search of pasture and water. This has resulted in conflict with neighbours as we scrabble for dwindling water and pasture for our animals, he added.

Abdullahi said some pastoralists have been rendered destitute while the number of livestock have drastically reduced.

Source: Kenya News Agency