Rohingya refugee camp fire: Several dead, hundreds missing and thousands homeless
At least 15 people have been killed in a massive fire that tore through a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh, while at least 400 are still missing, the UN refugee agency UNHCR has said.
Tens of thousands have been left homeless in Cox’s Bazar after fleeing.
Refugee aid groups estimate that between 40,500 and 50,000 people have been affected by the fire.
The settlement is part of a network of camps housing over a million refugees who have fled Myanmar since 2017.
“We still have 400 people unaccounted for, maybe somewhere in the rubble,” UNHCR’s Johannes Van der Klaauw, who joined a Geneva briefing virtually from Dhaka, Bangladesh.
UNHCR has reports of more than 550 people injured and about 45,000 displaced. At least 10,000 makeshift shelters have also been destroyed.
Refugees International quoted witnesses as saying many people, including children, were trapped by the barbed wire fencing around the camp in Cox’s Bazar.
Many are seeking shelter in nearby camps, friends or families’ shelters and learning centres, according to the World Food Programme, which also said some of its food centres were burnt to the ground.
“Even though the fire was brought under control, smoke is still billowing from many places,” Mohammad Abdullah, deputy assistant director of the fire service from the camp, told BBC Bengali.
“Our teams are still working to remove the rubble. Locals have started cleaning their houses,” he said, adding that an investigation committee was working to determine the number of casualties and the extent of damage.