Fire at Rohingya Camp in Bangladesh Leaves Thousands Homeless
The authorities in Bangladesh looked for survivors on Tuesday amid the smoldering ruins of a sprawling Rohingya refugee camp, someday after a hearth killed at least 15 folks, injured lots of and left tens of hundreds homeless as soon as once more.
The carnage at the camp in Cox’s Bazaar, close to the border with Myanmar, was the newest tragedy for residents, who’ve lived for years in its squalid shanties since fleeing their properties in Myanmar in the aftermath of a military-perpetrated bloodbath.
As many as 400 individuals are lacking and plenty of are presumed useless, in line with officers at the Inter Sector Coordination Group, a global reduction group that oversees the camp. Some victims, witnesses mentioned, have been caught between the blaze and the camp’s barbed-wire perimeter fences.
“No one helped us,” mentioned Ro Arfat Khan, 21, who fled Myanmar along with his household in 2017 after the navy razed their village. “If the Bangladesh authorities needed, they might’ve stopped the hearth.”
Mr. Khan, who misplaced a member of his prolonged household in Monday’s blaze, mentioned the conflagration introduced again painful reminiscences of watching his house in western Myanmar burn to the bottom.
His household then walked for days earlier than arriving in Bangladesh, the place they took shelter beneath a tarpaulin sheet. That they had little in the camp. “Now,” he mentioned, “it’s all gone.”
Satellite tv for pc photographs launched on Tuesday confirmed huge stretches of blackened earth in the Kutupalong Balukhali space, the place the camps have been positioned. Roughly 250 acres have been burned, a authorities official mentioned.
The fireplace began round 2 p.m. Monday in one of many shelters, witnesses mentioned. It rapidly grew uncontrolled, fueled by sturdy winds and lots of of cooking fuel cylinders that exploded because the flames raced throughout the camp.
Lots of these killed, together with the 73-year-old father-in-law of Mr. Khan’s sister, have been unable to outrun the firestorm. “He was too unwell and couldn’t stroll,” Mr. Khan mentioned.
Shahriar Alam, the junior minister for overseas affairs in Bangladesh, mentioned on Tuesday that an eight-member committee would investigate the fire and submit a report in the approaching days.
However for a lot of Rohingya, the blaze is one other reminder of the worldwide group’s failure to make sure their security.
The Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority from Rakhine State in Myanmar, are some of the persecuted folks on Earth. Since 2017, greater than 730,000 Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh, fleeing a vicious navy marketing campaign of killing, rape and arson in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, which noticed them as overseas interlopers.
The United Nations has referred to as Myanmar’s persecution of Rohingya Muslims “a textbook instance of ethnic cleaning,” setting off the largest compelled migration in historical past because the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
“Every part we owned is now ash,” mentioned Ro Anamul Hasan, whose shelter was burned down on Monday. “That is the second time I misplaced every thing in my life.”
A number of the practically 100,000 displaced folks have sought shelter in close by camps. Others have been seen making an attempt to rebuild shelter amid the ashes of their dwellings, utilizing no matter they might discover — bamboo, scraps of plastic and polyethylene sheets.
Any slim hope of an eventual return to Myanmar was diminished in February, when the navy that oversaw the genocidal marketing campaign seized energy in a coup.
“This tragedy is an terrible reminder of the weak place of Rohingya refugees who’re caught between more and more precarious situations in Bangladesh and the fact of a homeland now dominated by the navy liable for the genocide that compelled them to flee,” the humanitarian group Refugees Worldwide mentioned in a press release.
For Mr. Hasan, the hearth was a brutal reminder of the “unwell destiny” of the Rohingya that he has skilled all through his life.
“My dangerous luck is following me wherever I’m going,” he mentioned.
Julfikar Ali Manik contributed reporting.
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