Huge fire destroys hundreds of shelters at spacious Rohingya refugee camp in southern Bangladesh
COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh – A devastating fire raced through a large Rohingya refugee camp in southern Bangladesh on Monday, destroying hundreds of shelters and leaving thousands homeless, officials and witnesses said.
The fire at Camp Balukhali in Bazar district of Cox erupted late in the afternoon and quickly spread through at least four blocks, said Mohammad Shamsud Douza, an additional commissioner of the government’s Commission for Refugees, Aid and Repatriation. He said at least four fire brigades were fighting to control the fire because of its rapid spread.
Louise Donovan, a spokeswoman for the UN refugee agency, said in an email that fire services, rescue and rescue teams and volunteers were at the scene.
“So far, the fire has affected shelters, health centers, distribution points and other facilities. “Volunteers support those affected,” she said.
Several videos posted on social media showed clouds of smoke coming out of the camp.
Bangladesh has provided refuge to more than a million Rohingya Muslims, the vast majority fled Myanmar in 2017 in a major attack by the Myanmar army. The UN said the showdown had genocidal intent, a charge that Myanmar denies.
In January, another fire destroyed hundreds of log-like homes in the camp, leaving thousands homeless.