Thousands of Rohingya men, women, and children in Bangladesh spent the night without a roof over their heads after Sunday’s fire in their refugee camp gutted whatever meager belongings they had.
According to eyewitnesses, the makeshift tents caught fire on Sunday evening in Cox’s Bazaar, the country’s coastal district which houses the largest refugee camp in the world.
“I went to work. After returning in the evening I saw the blaze. Everything is gutted. We lost everything,” said Nurul Kabir, a Rohingya refugee.
Rescue workers and authorities are surveying the site and devising a strategy to rehabilitate the refugees.
Shah Rezwan Hayat, Bangladesh’s refugee relief and repatriation commissioner, told Anadolu Agency over the phone that they are arranging cloth tents for the refugees.
No fatalities have been reported so far, he said, adding that some people have suffered minor injuries.
Preliminary reports suggest the fire spread after a cooking gas cylinder exploded, he said.
This is not the first time a fire has broken out in the camps where more than a million refugees live in squalid conditions.
Last July, 60 makeshift tents caught fire.
Last March, 15 people were killed in a massive fire at the camp.
Another fire killed three people — all Rohingya — and damaged seven shops in the camp’s market on April 2.
In mid-January of last year, another fire destroyed more than 500 Rohingya shanties.
Most of the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh fled a brutal military crackdown in their home country of Myanmar in August 2017.
Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed, while more than 34,000 were thrown into fires, over 114,000 were beaten, and as many as 18,000 Rohingya women and girls raped, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency.