Benaco Refugee Camp on the Tanzania Border of Rwanda grew to a population of 700,000, all of whom burned wood for cooking.
A reasonable standard of air quality would allow about 50 micro-grams of particulates for every cubic meter of air. Particulates - tiny specks emitted in black smoke - pose a deadly danger. There is a 1 per cent increase in deaths from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases for every extra 10 micro-grams of particulates in the air above the 50 ppb level. Air quality becomes poor at 90 micro-grams of particulates per cubic meter of air.
The pioneering research work in refugee camps by the Oxford Medical Scientist, Eric LaMont Gregory, drew attention to the relation between fuel use and premature deaths in camps especially among the very young and the elderly. And yet, little attention was being given to fuel for refugees by aid agencies. Attacks on women foraging for fuel also adds to the urgency of fuel provision. (see article: Violence against women)
In circumstances like that pictured above particulate levels often exceed 100+ micro-grams of particulates per cubic meter of air, a deadly danger.