Hundreds of Thousands of Rohingya Affected By A Fire
At least 150,000 people lived in the area where the fire broke out on this Monday afternoon.
The refugee camps extend over 3,000 hectares in Bangladesh's southeast border district of Cox's Bazar.
The damage of the fire cannot yet be estimated, it said. Fire brigade, police and army are on site. Pictures and videos on social networks showed a lot of black smoke over the camp. A spokeswoman for the UN refugee agency, Ms Louise Donovan, wrote in an email that the fire had spread to health centers, distribution stations and other facilities in addition to accommodation. Various sources reported that more than 30 people had died, but the number of deaths has not yet been officially confirmed.
The fire is already the third disaster in the camps this year. In mid-January, four schools run by the Unicef children's aid organization burned down there. Four days earlier, a major fire destroyed more than 500 refugee shelters. The camp in Cox's Bazar currently houses around 850,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar and is considered the largest refugee camp in the world.
The flames could spread faster due to the flammable huts
The aid organization CARE reported that the flames had spread over several sections. It is important to get the fire under control quickly now as it moves closer and closer to the more densely populated areas of the camp, stated the organization's deputy country director in Bangladesh, Ram Das. If this does not succeed, the flames could spread even faster because the people's huts are even closer together here, Mr. Das warned.
In 2017, more than one million members of the Muslim minority fled military violence from Myanmar to Bangladesh. They live in camps there. The United Nations condemns the persecution of the Rohingya in Myanmar as ongoing genocide. Myanmar has rejected this. Agreements to repatriate the refugees have not yet been implemented because the Rohingya refuse to return to Myanmar.