Disasters & Accidents

At least 3 Rohingya refugees killed in fire close to camps in Bangladesh

Dhaka, Apr 2 (efe-epa).- At least three Rohingya refugees were killed on Friday in a fire at a market close to refugee camps in southeastern Bangladesh, in the second tragedy of this kind in less than two weeks after 15 refugees were killed in a massive fire at a camp in the area.

The incident took place in the early hours of Friday a market close to the massive Kutupalong camp in the Cox’s Bazar district, where over 600,000 members of the community have been living after fleeing neighboring Myanmar following a wave of violence unleashed by the Burmese military since August 2017.

“The fire gutted seven shops in the market. We found three dead bodies inside them. They were probably the employees of the shops,” Md Abdullah, the deputy assistant director of the Cox’s Bazar Fire Service and Civil Defense, told EFE.

Abdullah said that the firefighters managed to control the fire within a short time and prevented it from spreading to more buildings, adding that the dead bodies had been handed over to the police.

The officer in-charge of the Ukhiya police station in Cox’s Bazar, Ahmed Sanjur Morshed, confirmed to EFE that all three victims were Rohingya refugees and residents of the nearby camps.

This is the latest in a series of fires to hit the Rohingya camps in recent months.

On Mar. 22, a massive fire killed 15 people and destroyed 10,000 shacks, affecting as many as 45,000 refugees, according to the United Nations. Several schools, health centers and other facilities were also destroyed.

The highly congested camps in Cox’s Bazar are susceptible to mishaps due to lack of planning and fragile infrastructure with makeshift huts made of wood, bamboo and plastic.

In January, another fire left around 3,500 Rohingyas without a shelter, as more than 500 huts were destroyed.

However, there have also been concerns about fires being deliberately set. In January, Unicef flagged the deliberate burning of four educational centers for Rohingyas.

Nearly 738,000 Rohingya refugees are living in camps in Bangladesh since Aug. 25, 2017, following a wave of persecution and military crackdown in neighboring Myanmar that the UN described as a textbook example of ethnic cleansing and possible genocide. EFE-EPA


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