Thousands homeless after blaze ravages Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh

A massive fire raced through a crammed refugee camp for Rohingya Muslims in southern Bangladesh on Sunday, leaving thousands homeless.

The country’s deputy refugee commissioner, Shamsud Douza, said some 2,000 dwellings, mostly made of bamboo and tarpaulin in the Balukhali refugee camp, were gutted by the blaze.

A fire official at the camp in the Cox’s Bazar district said that no casualties have been reported, and the UNHCR in Bangladesh said it was providing support.

It is not yet clear how the blaze started, but there have been hundreds of fires in the overcrowded and squalid Rohingya camps in Bangladesh over the past two years.

More than one million Rohingya refugees have fled to the country from Myanmar over several decades. This includes about 740,000 who crossed the border starting in 2017, when the Myanmar military launched a brutal crackdown.

Muslim Rohingya face widespread discrimination in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, where most are denied citizenship and many other rights.

Last year, the United States said the oppression of Rohingya in Myanmar amounted to genocide after authorities in Washington confirmed accounts of mass atrocities against civilians by the military in a systematic campaign against the ethnic minority.