Fire leaves nearly 7,000 Rohingya homeless in Bangladesh camp

A fire swept through a Rohingya refugee camp in southeastern Bangladesh in the early hours of Sunday (Jan 7), destroying about 800 shelters and rendering thousands homeless, officials said.

Fire service officials and Rohingya volunteers brought the blaze under control around three hours after it hit Camp 5 in Cox’s Bazar, a border district with Myanmar, shortly before 1am (1900 GMT).

Apart from homes, several other facilities like learning centres were also gutted, Bangladesh’s Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner in Cox’s Bazar, Mohammed Mizanur Rahman said, adding that there were no casualties.

UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, said nearly 7,000 have been made homeless by the blaze and around 120 facilities, including mosques and healthcare centres were damaged.

A terrible situation. I get the uneasy feeling that safety wasn’t exactly the highest priority in this situation. How do you balance desperation with the need to stop things like this happening to already exploited peoples?