Fire Blazes Through Crowded Rohingya Refugee Camp in Bangladesh


A massive fire raced through a crammed refugee camp for Rohingya people in southern Bangladesh, leaving thousands homeless, a fire official and the United Nations said. The blaze hit Camp 11 in Cox’s Bazar, a border district where more than a million Rohingya refugees live, with most having fled a military-led crackdown in Myanmar in 2017.

“The health facilities [in the area] are very rudimentary to have a fast response. There are a lot of field hospitals but not enough to respond to 1.2 million people,” Al Jazeera’s Tanvir Chowdhury said. Firefighters, assisted by local volunteers, were able to get the blaze under control, but the UN refugee agency’s Regina De La Portilla said a third of the camp’s population had lost their homes and belongings and that the UN was providing mental healthcare services.

More than one million Rohingya refugees have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar over several decades, including about 740,000 who crossed the border starting in August 2017, when the Myanmar military launched a brutal crackdown. The mostly Muslim Rohingya face widespread discrimination in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, where most are denied citizenship and many other rights. 

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