A fire swept through a Rohingya refugee camp
Stung by Myanmar’s military-government genocide during the past decades, now Rohingya refugees face a huge fire that has swept through a massive refugee camp in southern Bangladesh on Monday, destroying thousands of homes and killing scores of people, officials and witnesses said, in the worst blaze to hit the settlement in recent years.
Video and photographs showed a blaze ripping through the Balukhali camp in Cox’s Bazar. Black smoke billowed over burning shanties and tents as people scrambled to recover their possessions.
“Fire services, rescue and response teams and volunteers are at the scene to try to control the fire and prevent it spreading further,” said Louise Donovan, spokesperson for U.N. refugee agency UNHCR in Cox’s Bazar.
Mohammed Shamsud Douza, the deputy Bangladesh government official in charge of refugees, said authorities were trying to control the blaze.
Rohingya refugees in the camps said many homes were burned down and several people had died, but neither the authorities nor the UNHCR could confirm the number of deaths. The cause of the blaze has not been established.
More than a million Rohingya live in the camps in southern Bangladesh, the vast majority having fled Myanmar in 2017 from a military-led crackdown that U.N. investigators said was executed with “genocidal intent,” charges Myanmar denies.