Massive Fire Forces Thousands to Flee Rohingya Refugee Camp in Bangladesh

A massive fire has swept through a Rohingya refugee camp in southeastern Bangladesh on March 22, forcing thousands to flee as it destroyed hundreds of shelters and some health centers, officials said.

According to officials, the fire started in one of the 34 camps in Cox’s Bazar, then it spread to three other camps.

“We doused the fire in one place and it spreads to other places,” Cox’s Bazar Administrator Mamunur Rashid told AFP News.

According to Rashid, at least 20,000 refugees had to flee their homes from the blaze.

Rohingya Youth Leader Mayyu Khan told Anadolu Agency that over 700 tents have been destroyed.

Police Inspector Gazi Salahuddin told AFP News that officers heard that five people — two women and three children — have died from the fire, but the police cannot release a statement yet since the bodies have not been recovered.

A fire brigade official also told AFP News that the blaze on March 22 was the third fire to hit the camp in four days.

“The frequency of fire in the camps is too coincidental, especially when outcomes of previous investigations into the incidents are not known and they keep repeating,” South Asia Campaigner for Amnesty International Saad Hammadi stated on Twitter.

The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

Save the Children’s Country Director in Bangladesh Onno van Manen said the March 22 blaze is the largest of multiple fires that have devastated the refugee camp this year.

“It is another devastating blow to the Rohingya refugees who live here. Just a couple of days ago we lost one of our health facilities in another fire. The risks of fires in these extremely densely populated and confined areas are enormous,” van Manen said, according to a CNN report.


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