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Massive Fire at Rohingya Camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

Smoke and flames engulf a refugee camp in Bangladesh.

Photo: © 2021 ACLAB/Radio Naf

Photo: © 2021 ACLAB/Radio Naf

A massive fire broke out at Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh on the afternoon on March 22, 2021. Around 3:00 PM, the fire ignited from camp 8E and it soon spread to Camp 8W, 9 and 10 leaving over 17,000 infrastructures including houses, community centers, schools and camp management offices fully or partly affected. Given the dry season and frequent wind flow, the fire spread rapidly and engulfed its surrounding areas. After trying for several hours, the firefighters finally managed to douse the fire at around 10 pm on the same day.

The incident triggered a mass relocation and people, including children, who are taking shelter in other camps. About 17,000 families are estimated to be affected who need emergency support including food, shelter and medicine. As of now, we are unable to confirm the exact number of deaths as assessments from different agencies are underway.

Clementine Olivia Bessade, Site Management Programme Manager, CARE Bangladesh shares, “Our Site Management teams and volunteers have been working tirelessly since yesterday across Camps 13, 14 and 16 to receive the affected families and individuals. Our Rohingya volunteers were the first responders on the ground all night to support them. We are currently offering shelter to more than 2000 people. We’ve referred many children to child protection agencies for reuniting with their parents. All affected people have received emergency food, including hot meals. So far, we’ve seen a great coordination effort with all partners and the government of Bangladesh on the ground; which will continue in the coming days as families will need our extended support.”

Ram Das, Deputy Country Director for Humanitarian Programs at CARE Bangladesh states, “We are devastated by this fire and doing whatever is humanly possible to support the affected families. As soon as we got the information, we mobilized our teams and extended support to the rescue operation. CARE particularly manages and works in 6 camps where are currently hosting some of the families, including a large group of children, who got displaced by the fire. We are on high alert for any further support to the whole operation. This is indeed a very unfortunate incident.”

Ramesh Singh, Country Director of CARE Bangladesh, expressed profound shock saying, “We are deeply concerned about the safety and wellbeing of Rohingya refugees affected by the incident. CARE is already providing support to some of the displaced families e.g. offering temporary housing, food and other necessities. We are also liaising with other govt. and non-govt. agencies to respond to the crisis and ensure people’s safety and well-being.”

For more information/interview set up:

Hillol Sobhan
Head of Communications, CARE Bangladesh
Hillol.sobhan@care.org, Mobile: +8801711854099

Kalei Talwar
Senior Press Officer, CARE USA


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