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Providing Warmth to Host Communities

Providing Warmth to Host Communities
Enaam Hassan, a Lebanese mother of twenty said: “I used to buy diesel fuel for 3,000-5,000 Lebanese Pounds which was barely enough for me, but God has sent me this stove and briquettes to keep us warm”.
As a result of severe winter weather, many Lebanese host communities are struggling to heat their homes and keep warm, a situation further compounded by power cuts that last for up to 12 hours a day. For years, Lebanese families have relied on diesel-fuel stoves; however fuel is a dangerous, highly flammable substance, and it is often too expensive to afford, leaving many families vulnerable to the cold.
UNDP’s Country Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Demonstration Project for the Recovery of Lebanon (CEDRO) has worked with the Ministry of Social Affairs (MOSA) and the Ministry of Energy (MOE) to find a solution. Funded by the German Government under the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan, the project delivers stoves and two winters’ supply of environmentally friendly briquettes to the most vulnerable people in the North and Bekaa regions. Those two regions are the most affected by the Syrian crisis; hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrians are living alongside the local population and the strain on resources has increased the price of many basic goods.

The stoves burn sustainably-produced briquettes which are manufactured from carpentry or agricultural waste, or from sustainably-managed forests. Each stove can emit enough heat to warm a room of up to 100m2.

Shouelly Ahmad el Hajji, a Lebanese woman from Al Hisheh said: “We are 15 people living in this house, and have lived here for forty years using the diesel fuel stove to keep us warm, but with the money we used to buy diesel fuel, now we can buy bread and food instead. Our joy is inexpressible.”

“Around 400 stoves will be delivered and installed in the Bekaa and 300 in the North,” CEDRO’s project manager Hassan Harajli said. “They are all very pleased with this project because they wouls still save some briquettes left for next winter,” Mr Harajli added “This is a project funded by the German government.” Wassef Kodeih, site engineer at UNDP’s CEDRO project said. “UNDP in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs, received a list with the names of those people most in need and who we have helped through providing stoves and briquettes,” Mr.Kodeih added.

Mohammad Ahmad El Ahmad, a Lebanese man from Wadi Khaled says “We are 11 persons in my family, since the day we received the stoves, it has been great and we have been able to feel warm. I thank the United Nations for what they gave us and for this huge accomplishment.”

Safety and upkeep instructions are given to the beneficiaries when they receive their stoves and briquettes. Six months after the stoves have been installed, a team of professionals accompanied by the CEDRO engineers visit to check the stoves are functioning properly. In replacing dangerous diesel fuel with stoves and briquettes, Lebanese homes have been made safer.

But there are also benefits that go beyond providing heating to households. In distributing stoves and briquettes, UNDP has also reduced reliance on highly polluting diesel fuel and on wood collected unsustainably, and often illegally, from forests. Money saved on fuel can be used for other priority needs. Stoves and briquettes are just one way UNDP is investing in renewable energy while providing assistance to those Lebanese most in need.