Dhaka, Jan 7 (EFE).- A massive fire swept through the Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh’s southeast Cox’s Bazar, destroying over 1,000 shelters in the early hours of Sunday, authorities said.
Cox’s Bazar Fire Station in-charge Atish Chakma told EFE the fire broke out in Camp-5 of Kutupalang around 1am local time and destroyed most of the shelters in the five blocks in the camp.
“In our estimate, 1,040 shelters were destroyed,” Chakma said. “However, we did not find any causality in the fire. There is no missing report either.”
He added that nine firefighting units from Cox’s Bazar and neighboring areas brought the fire under control by around 3pm.
The Rohingya refugee camps are prone to fires due to the lack of facilities, overcrowding, and the fragile nature of wooden, bamboo and plastic huts that are spread over the entire area.
The last major fire that broke out in the camp in March this year destroyed over 3,000 shelters, 155 facilities, including hospitals and educational centers, and displaced over 32,000 refugees.
A subsequent investigation carried out by Bangladesh authorities concluded the fire was an act of sabotage.
Bangladesh Defense Ministry in February, 2023 informed a parliamentary panel that 222 incidents of fire occurred in Rohingya camps between January 2021 and December 2022.
Ninety-nine were accidents, 60 were arson, and the cause of 63 fire incidents was undetermined.
Bangladesh is home to over 925,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled neighboring Myanmar, including around 774,000 who escaped after the military launched a campaign in 2017 described as ethnic cleansing and possible genocide by the UN. EFE