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07 Jul

Easing the burden of life by providing fire wood to the most vulnerable refugee women

By Movement communication task force Nyahok ., 27, a mother four, has lined up for firewood along with other South Sudanese refugees at the Leitchour refugee camp in Ethiopias Gambella region, about 900 kilometres west of Addis Ababa. Despite the circumstances, she still has to fulfil her parental responsibility to feed her family. Even though families receive food rations, they still need firewood to cook. For most, just like in many rural settings in Africa, they can only use firewood as they lack stoves. People have to walk three to five kilometres to fetch firewood. This is particularly difficult for the vulnerable such as old, disabled, pregnant and lactating mothers. At the Red Cross distribution site at the Leitchour camp, volunteers were busy distributing the firewood and bars of soaps to these vulnerable groups of the refugees. In two rounds, 2,600 households will receive 72 kilogrammes of firewood which can last one month. Fuel saving stoves is being procured to make the utilization of the firewood more efficient. The firewood is being sourced in an environmentally sustainable manner from tea farms located in north Ethiopia. When I arrived in this camp one of the difficulties I faced was getting firewood to cook and feed my children. In order to collect fire wood, either I had to walk long distances carrying my baby or ask somebody to find some for me,said Nyahok. It is really hard because I am breastfeeding and have to look after my children on my own because I do not know where my husband is. But now as the Red Cross is providing us the firewood, it would ease my burden in cooking and feeding my family. The Ethiopia Red Cross Society is, together with the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and the Swiss Red Cross Society, undertaking an emergency operation to respond to the needs of the South Sudanese refugees. Staff and volunteers are working closely with Movement partners to provide proper hygiene, sanitation, environmental cleaning, water delivery, household items and emergency health interventions.

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