Some 12,000 Rohingya refugees were affected by a massive fire that ripped through a camp in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar, seriously damaging the world’s largest refugee camp. The fire damaged almost 2,000 shelters, and many refugees who were impacted lost everything, leaving many of them feeling forlorn, depressed, and afraid.
The fire was first reported on March 5, and the International Organization for Migration dispatched emergency teams to help the refugees while coordinating with the local government and fire department. To stop the fire from spreading and lessen the damage done to property and lives, volunteers made fire breaks. There were no initial reports of casualties, and the fire’s origin and cause are now unknown.
At Cox’s Bazar, 33 cramped refugee camps are sheltering more than 1.2 million forcefully displaced Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar. The majority of these people fled a harsh military operation in the Rakhine State of Myanmar. Given the existing strained conditions in the mega camp, it will be challenging to relocate the estimated 12,000 fire victims.
The camps have a history of being prone to fires because of their dense and filthy conditions. According to a study from the Bangladeshi defense ministry published last month, there were 222 fire incidents in the Rohingya camps between January 2021 and December 2022, including 60 acts of arson. The cause of the massive fire is being investigated, according to Bangladeshi authorities.