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Thousands left homeless by massive fire in Bangladeshi Rohingya refugee camp

A massive fire at an overcrowded Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh has left thousands homeless.

The blaze broke out at Camp 11 in Cox's Bazar, a southeastern border district where more than a million Rohingya refugees live.

Police superintendent Rafiqul Islam said: "We currently don't have an estimate for damages but there are no reports of casualties."

Police did not provide an estimate for the number of homes destroyed.

Mr Islam added that the blaze was under control, with a second police official saying the cause of the fire was unclear.

Thick black clouds of smoke were also seen in the area.

Selim Ullah, a 40-year-old refugee and father of six children said: "I couldn't save anything. Everything burnt to ashes. Many are without homes. I don't know what will happen to us."

"When we were in Myanmar we faced lots of problems... our houses were burned down. Now it has happened again," he added.

Most refugees living in the area fled a campaign of persecution by Myanmar's military in 2017, with some left homeless for the second time after Sunday's fire.

The brutal crackdown worsened in 2021 after the military takeover.

Read more:
Inside Myanmar: How life has changed since the junta came to power
Rohingya girl's perilous journey from Myanmar to Bangladesh refugee camp

The US said last year that the oppression of Rohingya in Myanmar amounts to genocide after authorities confirmed mass atrocities by the military in a systematic campaign against the ethnic minority.

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

Fires are common in the refugee camps in Cox's Bazar. A fire in March 2021 killed at least 15 refugees and destroyed more than 10,000 homes.