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Firewood versus clean fossil fuel consumption in Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh

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LPG Distribution Center, Camp for Rohingya Refugees (Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals (FDMN))

Rohingya camps
Rohingya Refugee Camps, Bangladesh
Rohingya community member, Nuhu Amin, Laura Kwong, Rohingya community member
Rohingya Camp Household Survey
Rohingya Camp Household Survey
Chris LeBoa with Field Team
Mohammad Alamgir, Abdullah Al Mamun, Chris LeBoa, and Nuhu Amin

Firewood versus clean fossil fuel consumption in Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh



1.  Assess the magnitude and location of deforestation in Cox’s Bazar over time, with specific reference to deforestation before Aug 2017, when the largest influx of Rohingya occurs, and the period between August 2017 to when 10%, 20%, and 30% of households were enrolled in free LPG distribution.

2.  Measure human and environmental impacts of propane vs. firewood collection. Human impacts include use of time, labor, security, household economics, indoor air pollution and respiratory disease among women and children <5 years old. Environmental impacts include averted deforestation, landslide risk, and water regulation.

3.  Assess opportunities and barriers for effective uptake of propane among Rohingya refugees, including required behavior change, the impact of trading propane on household economics, and women’s roles.

4.  Translate research into policy recommendations for stakeholders involved in energy provision and environmental protection in humanitarian crises.



On August 25, 2017 the Myanmar army began an ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya in the Rakhine state. There are now >900,000 Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals (“Rohingya refugees”) in Bangladesh. To cook, build homes, stay warm, and earn income, the areas around the camp have been rapidly deforested. To address the need for fuel, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration are rolling-out free distribution for cooking to every household in the camp and to some host communities. In this context we seek to understand 1) the opportunities and barriers for effective distribution and uptake and 2) the cost-effectiveness of the fuel intervention given human, environmental, and economic costs and benefits.


Project Dates

August 2019 – July 2020: data collection

August 2020 – July 2021: research uptake


Stage of Work

Since August 2019, we have completed 1200 household surveys with refugee households that do and do not receive liquid propane gas from the free distribution program.

In 2020 we will conduct household surveys with host community households before and after they receive liquid propane gas and with refugee households that have been using liquid propane gas for six months since they were first interviewed when the didn’t use gas. We will also conduct qualitative interviews with refugees and host community members on their experiences with liquid propane gas distribution and training, harassment and violence they’ve experienced while collecting fuel, and how the refugee-host community interactions have changed since the distribution program started. We’ll also use satellite imagery to map deforestation before liquid propane gas was introduced.



Primary Contact:  Laura Kwong

Stanford University

.   Stephen Luby, PI

.   Laura Kwong

.   Chris LeBoa

International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B)

.   Nuhu Amin

.   Nazrin Akter

.   Al-Amin Hossain

.   Abdullah Al Mamun

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

.   Mickaël Edon

International Organization for Migration (IOM)

.   John Nyirenda

Energy & Environment Technical Working Group (EETWG)

.   Todd Wofchuck



elrha (Enhanced Learning and Research for Humanitarian Assistance)