A massive fire broke out at Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh in the afternoon on 22 March, 2021. At around 3:00 PM, the fire ignited from camp 8E and it soon spread to Camp 8W, 9 and 10 leaving over 17,000 infrastructures including houses, community centers, schools and camp management offices fully or partly affected. Given the dry season and frequent wind flow, the fire spread rapidly and engulfed its surrounding areas. After trying for several hours, the firefighters finally managed to douse the fire at around 10 pm on the same day.
The incident triggered a mass relocation and people, including children, who are taking shelter in other camps. About 17 thousand families are estimated to be affected who need emergency support including food, shelter and medicine. As of now, we are unable to confirm the exact number of death as assessments from different agencies are underway.
Clementine Olivia Bessade, Site Management Programme Manager, CARE Bangladesh shares, “Our Site Management teams and volunteers have been working tirelessly since yesterday across Camps 13, 14 and 16 to receive the affected families and individuals. Our Rohingya volunteers were the first responders on the ground all night to support them. We are currently offering shelter to more than 2000 people. We’ve referred many children to child protection agencies for reuniting with their parents. All affected people have received emergency food, including hot meals. So far, we’ve seen a great coordination effort with all partners and the government of Bangladesh on the ground; which will continue in the coming days as families will need our extended support.”
Ram Das, Deputy Country Director for Humanitarian Programs at CARE Bangladesh states, “We are devastated by this fire and doing whatever is humanly possible to support the affected families. As soon as we got the information, we mobilized our teams and extended support to the rescue operation. CARE particularly manages and works in 6 camps where are currently hosting some of the families, including a large group of children, who got displaced by the fire. We are on high alert for any further support to the whole operation. This is indeed a very unfortunate incident.”
Ramesh Singh, Country Director of CARE Bangladesh, expressed profound shock saying, “We are deeply concerned about the safety and wellbeing of Rohingya refugees affected by the incident. CARE is already providing support to some of the displaced families e.g. offering temporary housing, food and other necessities. We are also liaising with other govt. and non-govt. agencies to respond to the crisis and ensure people’s safety and well-being.”
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 www.care.org and www.care-international.org.
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Photo credit: ACLAB/Radio Naf
For more information/interview set up:
Hillol Sobhan; Head of Communications, CARE Bangladesh Email: Hillol.firstname.lastname@example.org,