The big fire in a Rohingya lamp in Bangladesh yesterday killed at least 15 people. There are 560 wounded, reports the UN refugee organisation UNHCR at a press conference. 400 more people are missing.
An estimated 45,000 Rohingya have become homeless due to the fire sea. “It was incredibly big and devastating,” says the Dutch UNHCR representative Johannes van der Klaauw.
Its still unclear how the fire started. On images there were large black plumes of smoke above the camp. It wasnt until around midnight that the fire department could control the fire.
In this video you can see the magnitude of the fire:
An estimated one million Rohingya refugees live in the Bangladesh border region. Since 2017, the Muslim minority has fled from predominantly Buddhist Myanmar due to increasing violence. According to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the Rohingya have a significant risk of becoming a victim of genocide.
In recent years, there has been more fires in the densely populated camps. The cabins of canvas and bamboo can easily catch fire. In January, the shacks of 3500 people were lost in a fire. According to the authorities, yesterdays fire was the largest in a Rohingya amp to date.
The Bengali government is in the process of transferring Rohingya refugees to a new refugee camp on an island off the coast. Many Rohingya and also various human rights organisations oppose this transfer because the island is very susceptible to storms.