CARE Bangladesh Statement Fire at Camp-16 in Cox’s Bazar Rohingya Camp on 18 January 2021

A fire broke out in CARE managed Camp-16 on 18 January 2021 around 3:00 am that burnt down two newly constructed, yet to open, Learning Centers. Camp community volunteers and disaster management unit volunteers under CARE rushed to the site and controlled the fire with available fire extinguishers, sand and water. The Rohingya community members also joined. The local Fire Department reached the location soon after the fire broke out and helped contain that within an hour. As the Learning Centers were constructed in a relatively open space, the fire did not spread to other places. So far, no casualty has been reported.

CARE Site Management and Site Development Program Coordinator, Shailesh Bagtharia after visiting the place shared, “One of Rohingya site management volunteer called our staff from site management at midnight to inform about the incident. We had provided very critical role as our volunteers acted fast to control the fire as first responders.”

Imam Hossain (39), CARE volunteer for site management informed, “When I saw the fire, I called CARE officer to inform about this incident. With the help of our other volunteers from the camp, we managed to control that.”

Following the incident, the Camp In-Charge, local police and other officials visited the site and spoke to the people there. The source of fire is not yet to be determined.  

Ram Das, Deputy Country Director for Humanitarian Programs at CARE Bangladesh said “Our site management Rohingya volunteers acted fast and alerted the fire service when the incident happened middle of the night and contained it. This is an unfortunate incident and we continue to remain at high alert to reduce response time at times.”

Ramesh Singh, Country Director of CARE Bangladesh, expressed his grief over this incident stating, “We are deeply saddened and concerned given the incident. We from CARE responded immediately when the fire broke out. We are currently assessing how we can mitigate any potential disruption or delay in the humanitarian assistance due to this fire. Also looking at some additional measures to prevent such incidents in future.”

It is noteworthy that CARE with IOM conducted fire simulation induction sessions for 100 disaster management unit volunteers in the past years.

Camp-16 where the fire broke out accommodates around 21,000 Rohingya refugees. On behalf of Bangladesh Government with support from IOM, CARE as site management focal for this camp oversees activities around site development, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), Gender based Violence (GBV) and protection and nutrition.  

About CARE: Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE has more than seven decades of experience delivering emergency aid during times of crisis. Our emergency responses focus on the needs of the most vulnerable populations, particularly girls and women. In 2020, CARE worked in over 100 countries, reaching more than 90 million people through 1,300 projects. To learn more, visit

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