Dhaka (Bangladesh): A massive fire broke out at the Nayapara Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar, leaving hundreds of people homeless.
At least 500 makeshift dwellings were gutted in the fire at the refugee camp in Teknaf. However, no casualties were reported in the incident, Dhaka Tribune reported.
Additional Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Md Shamsud Douza informed that the fire broke out at 3 am on Thursday.
“After about two hours, the fire brigade was able to bring the fire under control at 5 am. Meanwhile, at least 500 Rohingya houses in the camp were completely burnt down,” he said.
According to The New York Times, the fire forced thousands of displaced Muslim refugees to flee in the winter chill.
According to aid workers and officials, the fire left hundreds of people without homes. It struck at a time when officials in Bangladesh look for long-term solutions for the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have crossed its border from Myanmar in recent years.
Some residents said firefighters initially struggled to douse the flames amid a chaotic situation, as people in neighboring camps also fled to escape the blaze.
“When I opened my eyes, I saw fire everywhere… The sky turned red and smoke was everywhere,” The New York Times quoted Haleema Khatoon, who lived in the camp along with her two children and husband and said she lost everything in the blaze.
In May last year, a similar fire reduced over 400 shelter homes to ashes in the nearby Kutupalang refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar. With an increasing population and new shelter homes being built over time, officials say it has become increasingly difficult for firefighters to navigate slum areas.
Meanwhile, Dhaka Tribune reported that the cause of the fire is yet to be determined, and the authorities are working to determine the full extent of the damage. —ANI