Thousands homeless after fire guts Rohingya camp in Bangladesh

Dhaka, March 6, (dpa/GNA) – At least 2,000 makeshift shelters were burnt after a massive fire broke out in parts of an extremely crowded Rohingya refugee camp in south-eastern Bangladesh on Sunday, officials said.

The fire swept through the sprawling Balukhali settlement in Cox’s Bazar district and destroyed refugee homes, made mostly of bamboo and tarpaulins, said Mohammad Shamsuddoza, a senior official at Bangladesh’s Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission.

Nearly 10,000 people are believed to have lost their homes in the blaze, which took firefighters two hours to bring under control, he told dpa by phone.

Sheikh Mohammad Ali, chief of the local unit of Ukhiya police station, said the fire erupted in Balukhali’s Camp 11 and then spread to the adjoining camps 10 and 12.

There was no reports of casualties, the police chief said.

He said the cause of the fire was still unknown.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Bangladesh said in a tweet that it was providing support.

Bangladesh has been hosting more than 1 million Rohingya Muslims across 34 camps in Cox’s Bazar after they fled persecution in neighbouring Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

Of them, nearly 750,000 crossed the border after Myanmar launched a military offensive in August 2017.

A massive fire at the camp, killed 15 people and injured hundreds others in March 2021.