A fire has swept through the Rohingya refugee camps in southern Bangladesh, destroying more than 550 shelters, housing at least 3 500 people. Al Jazeera reports that 150 shops and a facility belonging to a non-profit organization have also been gutted in the fire.
According to Al Jazeera, aside from concrete poles nothing remains of the decades old camp.
One refugee said “E-block is completely burned down.” He added, “There is nothing left. There was nothing saved. Everything is burned down.” He said that all the refugees had lost all of their possessions.
The UNHCR said that there were no casualties and that the cause of the fire was being investigated. it said it was providing shelter, medical care, food, and other basic necessities for the now further displaced refugees. Meanwhile, Mohammed Shamsud Douza, the deputy Bangladesh government official in charge of refugees, said they had yet to decide whether to rebuild the shelters at Cox’s Bazaar, or move the refugees elsewhere.
Douza said that Bangladesh’s fire service had spent two hours trying to douse the flames, but that the exploding gas cylinders inside the homes had hindered the process.
Save the Children said the fire was “another devastating blow for the Rohingya people who have endured unspeakable hardship for years”.
Umm Muhammed Umar