Sat. Jan 22nd, 2022

Authorities say more than 5,000 people lost their homes after the fire swept through bamboo and tarpaulin shelters.

Thousands of Rohingya were left homeless after a fire destroyed parts of their refugee camp in southeastern Bangladesh, police said.

About 850,000 of the persecuted mostly Muslim minority, many of whom escaped a 2017 military repression in Myanmar who United Nations investigators conclude was executed with “genocidal intent”, lives in a network of camps in Bangladesh’s border district Cox’s Bazar.

“About 1,200 houses were burned in the fire,” Kamran Hossain, a spokesman for the armed police battalion, which heads the camp, said on Sunday.

The fire started at Camp 16 and rushed through shelters of bamboo and tarpaulin, leaving more than 5,000 people homeless, he said.

“The fire started at 16:40 [10:40 GMT] and was brought under control around 18:30, “he told the AFP news agency.

Mohammed Shamsud Douza, a Bangladeshi government official in charge of refugees, said emergency workers had brought the fire under control. The cause of the fire has not been determined, he added.

Bystanders gather while smoke and flames can be seen on a hill after a fire broke out in a Rohingya campBystanders gather while smoke and flames can be seen on a hill after a fire broke out in a Rohingya refugee camp in Ukhia on January 9, 2022 [AFP]

“I lost my dream”

Abdur Rashid, 22, said the fire was so big that he ran for safety as his house and furniture were engulfed in flames.

“Everything in my house burned down. My baby and wife were out. “There were a lot of things in the house,” he told AFP.

“I saved 30 000 taka [350 dollars] of work as a day laborer. The money was burned in the fire. “

“I am now in the open air. I lost my dream. ”

In March last year, 15 people were killed and about 50,000 were left homeless in Bangladesh after a major fire destroyed Rohingya homes in the world’s largest refugee settlement.

Mohammad Yasin, 29, lamented the lack of fire safety equipment in the camps.

“Fire occurs regularly here. There was no way we could put out the fire. There was no water. My house burned down. Many documents, which I brought from Myanmar, are also burned. And it’s cold here, ”he said.

Another fire tore through a COVID-19 refugee treatment center in another refugee camp in the district last Sunday, causing no casualties.

Bangladesh was praised for taking in refugees who fled across the border from Myanmar, but had little success in finding permanent homes for them.

Rohingya refugees from Myanmar traveled to countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia for years, seeking refuge.

Last month, Indonesia a boat allowed packed with Rohingya refugees stranded on its shores to dock after calls from aid organizations to allow the vessel to seek refuge.

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