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Fire destroys homes of thousands in Rohingya refugee camps: UN

A Rohingya man reacts after a fire burned houses of the Nayapara refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh

A Rohingya man reacts after a fire burned houses of the Nayapara refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh

Thousands of Rohingya refugees have been left homeless after a fire torched their camps in southern Bangladesh, the UN said on Thursday.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said more than 550 shelters had been destroyed in the camps in the southern Bangladeshi region of Teknaf. The homes housed some 3,500 people.

“Security experts are liaising with the authorities to investigate [...] the cause of fire,” the agency said, adding that no casualties were reported.

Aid agencies and the local government are distributing shelter kits, hot meals and medical supplies, the DPA news agency reported.

Senior government official Mohammed Shamsud Douza said the fire service spent two hours putting out the blaze.

He added that an explosion of gas cylinders had hampered their efforts.

No decision has been taken as to whether shelters would be rebuilt or the refugees moved elsewhere.

Government denies forced relocations

Bangladeshi officials moved several thousand Rohingya to a remote island in recent weeks.

Human rights groups and some refugees said a number of the re-locations were forced. The government refutes those allegations.

More than one million Rohingya live in the south of the country, with most of them fleeing a military-led crackdown in Myanmar in 2017.

The UN accused the Myanmar government of genocidal intent, which officials have repeatedly denied.

jf/dj (DPA, Reuters)


Updated : 2021-01-20 12:55 GMT+08:00