DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA) – Several thousand Rohingya people were left homeless in bone-chilling winter after a massive fire burnt down tents in the southeastern city of Cox’s Bazar early Sunday.
At least 1,040 refugee tents and shelters were completely burnt down, Atish Chakma, the Cox’s Bazar fire service deputy assistant director, told Anadolu.
After four hours of frantic efforts, eight firefighter units managed to douse the fire. No casualties were reported, he added.
Refugees, however, said that more houses were gutted in the fire.
“Five to six thousand refugees were made homeless by the fire,” Mohammed Rezuwan Khan, a Rohingya whose relatives lost everything in the fire, told Anadolu.
He blamed the incident on sabotage, accusing some Myanmar insurgent groups of trying to establish supremacy in the camps.
The Rohingya in camps are refugees from ethnic persecution in neighboring Myanmar.
Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Deputy Commissioner Samsud Doza told Anadolu that they were on site to examine the situation, working to accommodate the refugees and ensure food and warm clothing.
The majority of Rohingya living in Bangladesh fled a brutal military crackdown in Rakhine, Myanmar in 2017. Most are housed in overcrowded camps in Cox’s Bazar, but since late 2020 over 33,000 have been relocated to the island of Bhasan Char.