More than 2,000 Rohingya refugees in a camp in Bangladesh were left homeless on Thursday after a flame tore through more than 500 huts during the early hours, an official said.
There were no deaths, but at least ten people were injured when they fled the fire around 2am (2000 GMT on Wednesday) in the Nayapara camp, said Bangladesh’s refugee commissioner Rezwan Hayat.
“The houses were made of tin and bamboo. We immediately delivered hot food and bamboo and tarpaulins to the victims to reconstruct their homes,” he said.
He added that a cooking bottle – which is widely used in the camp – was the suspected cause.
A fire broke out last night in Nayapara Camp
Volunteers and refugees were the first to respond, followed by the fire department. rushed in
Coordinated response is ongoing with partners and authorities
0 injured. Over 550 refugee homes, 150 shops damaged. pic.twitter.com/VngtFQZI4L
– UNHCR in Bangladesh (@UNHCR_BGD) 14 January 2021
Nayapara in southeastern Bangladesh is home to tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees originally from Myanmar, including many who have lived there since the 1990s.
Other cramped and congested camps in the area are home to nearly 900,000 Rohingya, most of whom fled a brutal 2017 military coup by Myanmar’s military.
Save the Children’s director in Bangladesh, Onno van Manen, said the fire was “another devastating blow to the Rohingya people who have been going through vague difficulties for several years”.
“It stands as another horrible reminder that children trapped in the camps … are facing a bleak future with little freedom of movement, insufficient access to education, poverty, serious protection risks and abuse, including child marriage.”