Bangladesh investigates massive fire in Rohingya refugee camp

Dhaka, Mar 6 (EFE).- Bangladesh authorities initiated an investigation on Monday in order to determine the cause of a massive fire that destroyed more than a third of the shelters in a Rohingya refugee camp, leaving 12,000 people without shelter.

The investigation committee, which includes representatives from the Office of the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner, Armed Police Battalion (APBn), local police,

Cox’s Bazar district police, and fire service and civil defense, will meet to probe the origin of the fire, local media outlets reported. Besides analyzing the causes of the fire, the committee is also expected to conclude over the next few days if there was any sabotage attempt in the fire, a possibility when cutbacks in humanitarian aid have made it harder to support the refugees.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that as a result of the fire, about 12,000 refugees – more than a third of camp 11’s 32,200 inhabitants – were displaced, more than 2,000 shelters were damaged or destroyed, and more than 90 facilities including hospitals and learning centers were burnt down.

The Rohingya refugee camps are prone to fires due to the lack of facilities, their overcrowding and the fragile wooden, bamboo and plastic huts that are spread over the entire area.

The situation of refugees in Bangladesh is increasingly complex.

The UN has made numerous appeals to donors due to insufficient funding which has forced it to cut back its food assistance to the camps.

About 738,000 Rohingyas arrived at camps in southeast Bangladesh after Myanmar military’s campaign of persecution and violence in 2017, which the UN classified as an example of ethnic cleansing and a possible genocide, allegations that are being investigated in international courts. EFE


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