Social Issues

Fire destroys 550 Rohingya shelters in Bangladesh camp

Dhaka, Jan 14 (efe-epa).- A devastating fire in the Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar destroyed more than 550 shelters and rendered some 3500 refugees homeless in the early hours of Thursday, authorities said.Rafiqul Islam, a spokesman for Cox’s Bazar police, told EFE that the fire started at the Nayapara refugee camp sometime after 2:40 am and tore through the shelters for nearly two hours.”We got the news of the fire at 2:42 am and informed the fire-fighters of Teknaf and Ukhiya. They brought the fire under control at 4:25 am with two hours’ effort,” he said, adding that the origin of the fire is not yet known.Confirming the damage to the shelters, the Inter Service Coordination Group explained in a statement that no deaths or serious injuries had been reported as a result of the fire, and the few people with minor injuries have been treated and released. The group added that the fire also destroyed a community centre and several shops near the refugee shelters.A Bangladesh commissioner for Refugee Relief and Repatriation, Shamsuddoha, told EFE that they have ordered an investigation of the incident.”We assume the fire started from an individual shelter. We have formed a three-member committee to investigate the incident,” said the commissioner.The ISCG, which coordinates relief efforts in the camp, said its partners – UN and NGOs – have stepped in to assist the authorities in responding to the incident.Medical care, shelter kits, non-food items, warm clothes, and emergency food such as hot meals are being delivered to the affected families, who are temporarily being housed with relatives or in emergency accommodation, said the ISCG.The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said they are working to help those affected by the fire.”We have been on the ground since very early in the morning. We are working with our Government and NGO partners, other UN agencies and Rohingya refugees to help people who have lost their homes and possessions during last night’s terrible fire in the refugee camp at Nayapara,” UNHCR’s Head of Operations Marin Din Kajdomcaj said in a statement.Nearly 738,000 Rohingya refugees have been living in camps in Bangladesh since 25 August, 2017, following a wave of persecution and military crackdowns in neighbouring Myanmar, which the UN has described as a textbook example of ethnic cleansing and possible genocide. EFE-EPA


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