Fire Tears Through Rohingya Camp, Leaving Thousands Homeless Once More

The authorities in Bangladesh looked for survivors on Tuesday amid the smoldering ruins of a sprawling Rohingya refugee camp, in the future after a hearth killed no less than 15 folks, injured tons of and left tens of 1000’s homeless as soon as once more.

The carnage on the camp in Cox’s Bazaar, close to the border with Myanmar, was the most recent tragedy for residents, who’ve lived for years in its squalid shanties since fleeing their houses in Myanmar within the aftermath of a military-perpetrated massacre.

As many as 400 individuals are lacking and lots of are presumed lifeless, in response to officers on the Inter Sector Coordination Group, a world reduction group that oversees the camp. Some victims, witnesses stated, had been caught between the blaze and the camp’s barbed-wire perimeter fences.

“Nobody helped us,” stated Ro Arfat Khan, 21, who fled Myanmar along with his household in 2017 after the navy razed their village. “If the Bangladesh government wanted, they could’ve stopped the fire.”

Mr. Khan, who misplaced a member of his prolonged household in Monday’s blaze, stated the conflagration introduced again painful reminiscences of watching his dwelling in western Myanmar burn to the bottom.

His household then walked for days earlier than arriving in Bangladesh, the place they took shelter below a tarpaulin sheet. They had little within the camp. “Now,” he stated, “it’s all gone.”

Satellite photos launched on Tuesday confirmed huge stretches of blackened earth within the Kutupalong Balukhali space, the place the camps had been situated. Roughly 250 acres had been burned, a authorities official stated.

The fireplace began round 2 p.m. Monday in one of many shelters, witnesses stated. It rapidly grew uncontrolled, fueled by sturdy winds and tons of of cooking fuel cylinders that exploded because the flames raced throughout the camp.

Many of these killed, together with the 73-year-old father-in-law of Mr. Khan’s sister, had been unable to outrun the firestorm. “He was too unwell and couldn’t walk,” Mr. Khan stated.

Shahriar Alam, the junior minister for overseas affairs in Bangladesh, stated on Tuesday that an eight-member committee would investigate the fire and submit a report within the coming days.

But for a lot of Rohingya, the blaze is one other reminder of the worldwide neighborhood’s failure to make sure their security.

The Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority from Rakhine State in Myanmar, are one of the vital 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 foreign interlopers.

The United Nations has known as Myanmar’s persecution of Rohingya Muslims “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing,” setting off the largest compelled migration in historical past because the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

“Everything we owned is now ash,” stated Ro Anamul Hasan, whose shelter was burned down on Monday. “This is the second time I lost everything in my life.”

Some of the practically 100,000 displaced folks have sought shelter in close by camps. Others had been seen attempting to rebuild shelter amid the ashes of their dwellings, utilizing no matter they may 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 awful reminder of the vulnerable position of Rohingya refugees who are caught between increasingly precarious conditions in Bangladesh and the reality of a homeland now ruled by the military responsible for the genocide that forced them to flee,” the humanitarian group Refugees International stated in a statement.

For Mr. Hasan, the hearth was a brutal reminder of the “ill fate” of the Rohingya that he has skilled all through his life.

“My bad luck is following me wherever I go,” he stated.

Julfikar Ali Manik contributed reporting.

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