Factsheet: Cooking in Humanitarian Settings
During 2014, 156 million people were affected by violent conflict or natural disaster. More than 59 million of them were refugees or people internally displaced within their home nation. While a robust humanitarian system exists to provide food, shelter, and medical assistance, many crisis-affected people lack access to adequate fuel and technologies to safely cook their meals.
Food provided by humanitarian agencies is typically dry and energy dense, and must be cooked for long periods of time before it can be eaten. Yet clean and efficient cookstoves and fuel are rarely provided. As a result, many families rely on solid fuels such as wood or charcoal for cooking, which create smoky fires that damage respiratory health. Crisis-affected women must often walk for hours to find firewood and carry heavy loads back to camp, which puts them at risk for physical injury and attack. The time spent collecting firewood also negatively affects women and girls’ ability to attend school and engage in income-generating activities.