Fire destroys hundreds of Rohingya shanties in Bangladesh camp

COX’S BAZAR, May 13 — Roughly 10 people were injured as a fire tore through a Rohingya refugee camp in southeastern Bangladesh destroying at least 330 shanties, officials said yesterday.

Local firefighter official Emdadul Haq said the 330 rough buildings, including homes and shops, in the Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp were completely destroyed in the fire, which began at a gas cylinder shop

           Rohingya children are seen at a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, March 7, 2019.

“Ten people were injured in the accident. It’s the biggest fire (to have broken out) in the camps” to date, he told AFP, adding another 300 shanties, most of them built with flimsy tarpaulin and bamboo, had been damaged by the fire.

No casualties have so far been reported in Kutupalong, one of the world’s largest refugee camp, he added.

Bangladesh’s deputy refugee commissioner Shamsud Douza said the injured were taken to local hospitals for treatment.

The UNHCR said it has mobilised an emergency response team to “help the affected refugees.”

More than a million Rohingya live in the squalid camps in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district, which includes Kutupalong.

Some 740,000 of them arrived in the South Asian nation in 2017 from Myanmar’s conflict-ridden Rakhine state, escaping a brutal military clampdown.

Experts and aid workers had already warned that fire could cause massive havoc in the overcrowded camp settlement.

“We have seen small fire accidents earlier but never saw such big devastation. Many people were trying to make a living by running small shops. They are affected the most,” Rohingya community leader Abdur Rahim said.

In 2018, a fire in one of the camps killed a woman and three children.

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