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Fire Engulfs Rohingya Camp in Bangladesh, Leaving 15 Injured, Including 5 Children"

Photo : AP  

In a tragic turn of events on Bhasan Char island, a Rohingya refugee camp was ravaged by a fire stemming from a gas leak, resulting in injuries to eight refugees, among them five children. The victims, bearing partial burns, were expeditiously transported to a government hospital in the Noakhali district, according to statements from Bhasan Char police chief Kawsar Alam Bhuiyan.

Bhasan Char has been a focal point for the relocation of around 32,000 Rohingya refugees from Cox's Bazar since late 2020. This relocation initiative, however, has encountered opposition, particularly from aid groups expressing apprehensions about potential disasters in a region prone to severe weather.

Despite the reservations, the Bangladeshi government has steadfastly asserted the implementation of comprehensive safety measures on Bhasan Char. These measures include the construction of robust flood defenses, accommodation for 100,000 residents, medical facilities, and cyclone shelters. The recent fire incident accentuates the persistent challenges confronting Rohingya refugees, who initially sought refuge from a military crackdown in Myanmar in 2017 and now find themselves dwelling in congested and makeshift conditions, rendering them susceptible to unforeseen calamities such as fires.

The refugee camps in Cox's Bazar have a troubling history of fire incidents, with a notable conflagration in March 2021 resulting in casualties and the widespread destruction of homes. In the preceding year, another fire left thousands homeless, and an investigative panel attributed it to a "planned act of sabotage." These recurrent incidents underscore the imperative need for sustained attention to the safety and well-being of Rohingya refugees in the region, amidst the challenging backdrop of their displacement and vulnerable living conditions.

Feb. 24, 2024 4:15 p.m. 1389

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