Disasters & Accidents

Fire damages 4 Unicef learning centers in Bangladesh Rohingya camp

Dhaka, Jan 19 (efe-epa).- UN children agency UNICEF said on Tuesday that four of its learning centers were damaged in an alleged arson attack on the Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh.

The Bangladesh authorities said that they had ordered an investigation into the incident.

It was not clear who attacked the learning centers that remained closed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The incident occurred in the early hours on Monday.

It comes less than a week after a fire destroyed over 550 shelters in the Rohingya camp, rendering nearly 3,500 refugees homeless.

Bangladesh’s additional commissioner for Refugee Relief and Repatriation, Shamsuddoha, told EFE that they were aware of the incidents and ordered an investigation.

“We are aware of the fire in UNICEF learning centers. It’s not clear to us how this fire started. We have launched an investigation into the matter,” he said.

Unicef Bangladesh in Twitter called the fire “arson” and said it was “working with partners to assess the damages of the attack and speed up the process of rebuilding these Leaning Centres.”

“While the exact circumstances around the fires in four learning centers in a Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar are still under investigation, Unicef condemns all attacks on educational institutions,” Jenny Gamming, Chief of Communication, UNICEF Bangladesh, told EFE.

Nearly 738,000 Rohingya refugees have been living in camps in Bangladesh since Aug.25, 2017, following a wave of persecution and military crackdowns in neighboring Myanmar, which the UN has described as a textbook example of ethnic cleansing and possible genocide.

The government has relocated some of the Rohingya refugees to a remote island, insisting that the relocation was imperative for decongesting the camps.

The government relocated nearly 2,000 Rohingya refugees to the remote Bhasan Char island on Dec.29.

However, the lack of transparency in the transfer process has evoked criticism from international groups, including the United Nations.

The United Nations has emphasized that Rohingya refugees must be able to make a free and informed decision about relocating to Bhasan Char based upon relevant, accurate, and updated information. EFE-EPA

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