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Firewood crisis hits Palabek Refugee Settlement Camp

By: Mandela Nelson Denis (Northern Uganda)

Thousands of South Sudanese refugees in Palabek Settlement Camp in Lamwo District have expressed their discontent over the firewood crisis that has hit the camp.

Majority of the refugees largely depend on firewood as a source of energy for cooking and other domestic activities such as burning charcoal for commercial purposes.

Onen Walter, a resident of Palabek Settlement Camp revealed that his colleague was victimized by original settlers after he was suspected of cutting down trees for firewood.

Onen told Juba Monitor that his friend was apprehended by some youth of the community when found with a panga and an axe in the bush.

“My friend was wandering in the bush with his panga and an axe and when found, he was chased by some youths who claimed that he was burning charcoal for sale”, said Onen.

Mary Lapwony Atim, another Camp’s resident said women who are supposed to source for firewood live in fear of being attacked any time by the host community over firewood-related matters.

“Life is hard and we cannot do much, we would have opted for charcoal but we cannot afford buying it for cooking every day, firewood is cheaper but hard to access because of fear which comes with going to the bush”, said Atim.

Angela Itto, a mother of two said that it’s the mercy of God keeping them alive in the camp and each time they go to search for firewood.

“God is great to us and this explains why we are still a live, we have resorted to search for firewood within the camp and not far in order to avoid problems”, Itto said.

The Non-governmental organizations in the camp only provide assistance such as access to water, food and shelter, the refugees are given food and meant to find ways of how to cook.

It should be noted that without firewood the mothers in the camp cannot put food on the table for their families since firewood is the sole source of energy.

Palabek settlement camp houses thousands of South Sudanese refugees from across the country.

Lamwo District Authorities through the Minister of Refugees allocated pieces of land for the refugees to settle in with their families.

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