DRC Yemen going greenSolar panels in Yemen have helped the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) to save 7.500 liters of diesel annually. A combination of rising fuel and electricity prices together with a decision to reduce the carbon footprint and becoming self-sufficient has helped DRC to become green in what the UN has labelled as one of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
In Yemen 60 percent of the population is food insecure and 80 percent – more than 20 million people - rely on humanitarian assistance. In March 2015, an armed conflict erupted and at that point the living conditions in Yemen began to worsen and the provision of basic services was disrupted, which resulted in scarcity of electricity, fuel, water and food.
The high cost of fuel diverted important financial resources for DRC – as well as other agencies - away from expanding relief activities in support of the population in need. By early 2016 DRC was among the first organizations that started using the solar system in Yemen, going greener reducing the consumption of fuel. DRC has been able to save 7.500 liters of diesel annually due to the solar system
“Many are the advantages of greener operational modalities, beside the financial benefits, resulted from the massive savings in energy cost. It is highly effective in reducing pollution helping save the environment; it requires lower maintenance than traditional fuel-based power generation systems, as solar panels produce power for years without major servicing, besides a general system check once a year,” says Stef Deutekom, DRC Yemen country director.
Yemen was ranked among the poorest countries and more in need globally, even before the current armed conflict. Until the beginning of 2015, supply of electricity, fuel, water and food commodities were widely available at any time from the local market. But by the end of 2015, the Yemeni population was forced to identify new systems to overcome the financial consequences of the conflict, in the attempt of surviving with very little income. At that time Solar Power Generation Systems had been largely introduced in Yemen.
“In going green, we reduce our carbon footprint; we become self-sufficient, while becoming also able to create new and innovative ways to save fossil fuel-based energy. By going green we reduced the electricity bill, but still have full availability of electricity. Less fuel consumption also means improved health condition for the office’s staff and better work environment without the continuous noise and exhaust of the generator,” says Stef Deutekom.
The Danish Refugee Council has been active in Yemen for the past 10 years, with both development and humanitarian activities, in support of the local population. DRC is responding to the current overwhelming humanitarian needs by providing food, access to clean water, provision of shelter and protection.