435 houses burnt in Taknaf Rohingya camp fire: 20 hurt

Cox’s Bazar, Jan 14 – At least 435 houses were gutted in a fire at Nayapara Registered Rohingya Camp in Teknaf Upazila of Cox’s Bazar district early Thursday. Abdul Hannan, in-charge of the camp, said the fire broke out at a house in the camp under E-block around 3 am and spread soon.
The fire spread fast as most of the residents use gas cylinders in the camp for cooking, he said.
On information, two fire fightings units rushed in and extinguished the blaze with the help of Rohingya people.
Around 20 people sustained injuries in the fire that also burnt down 432 houses, one community centre of UNHCR, and two dwelling houses of local people.
Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC)Shah Rezwan Hayat visited the spot.
An official at Teknaf Fire Station told UNB that two fire fighting units from Ukhiya and Teknaf Upazilas rushed to the spot at 2:15 am and within two hours they brought the fire under control.
The firefighters wrapped up their work at 7:30 am, he said adding that no casualty was reported.
The official said an investigation is going on to find the source of the fire.
The Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC), Nayapara Registered Camp in Charge, and law enforcement authorities also rapidly attended the scene.
It is suspected that the fire broke out from one of the individual shelters however a full investigation is ongoing by the local authorities.
Humanitarian partners have stepped in to respond to the incident with the support of trained safety unit volunteers (SUVs) and the wider local community.
Shelter kits, non-food items, winter clothes, hot meals and medical care are being delivered to the affected families, and the refugee community is helping to clear the debris.
UNHCR’s Head of Operations Marin Din Kajdomcaj said, “We are on the ground since early morning hours, working with government authorities, partners, UN agencies, and Rohingya refugees in response to the devastating fire that ripped through the refugee camps at Nayapara last night. Primary focus remains on the emergency response and lifesaving assistance that are ongoing simultaneously.”
The Government of Bangladesh, UN and NGO partners have implemented fire prevention measures to ensure the refugee community is trained and well-informed on fire safety practices, and that response mechanism are in place in case fires erupt, he said.
These measures include training, development of guidelines and community outreach.
Fires remain a hazard given the high density of the refugee camps. – UNB