Thousands of Rohingya left homeless after yet another fire breaks out in Bangladesh refugee camp

© Ro Yassin Abdumonab

An immense fire destroyed a large section of a refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, on Sunday afternoon, leaving thousands of people without shelter in this camp that is home to around a million Rohingya refugees.

The fire broke out in the Balukhali refugee camp in Cox's Bazar on the afternoon of Sunday, March 5. Images posted on social media show hundreds of homes reduced to cinders as well as families fleeing the fire, carrying the belongings they managed to grab.

No deaths were recorded in the fire. However, more than 2,000 shelters were destroyed in this camp, which is home to about a million Rohingya refugees. After the fires, more than 12,000 of them need to be rehomed.

The fire also destroyed about 30 mosques and educational centres, according to French press agency, the AFP. One of the health centers run by the Bangladesh Red Crescent and some “water networks” were also destroyed, according to this post by an NGO on Twitter.

After years of persecution in neighbouring Myanmar, large numbers of the majority Muslim Rohingya fled across the border to Bangladesh. The number of refugees exploded in 2017, after a wave of severe repression led by the Myanmar military.

‘Everyone is struggling to find food and water’

Ro Yassin Abdumonab is a photographer who lives near Camp No. 11, where the fire began. Abdumonab, who is Rohingya himself, went to the site of the fire on Sunday, March 5 to make sure his friends there were ok and to document the situation.

The food aid is taking ages to arrive. Associations are working to organise it all, but it takes time.

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